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French champions Lyon are continuing to insist that midfielder Michael Essien will not be leaving the club, despite Chelsea increasing their offer for the player to 32 million euros (£22m).

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas said he had rejected an “extraordinary” offer from the English champions following a meeting with Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon on Tuesday.

Aulas said: “Mr Kenyon made the trip to Lyon and I met with him to tell him that our player was not for sale.

“They came back with an extraordinary offer but we are not crazy. I’d rather be taken for a wise man even if sometimes my head is turning.”

Yesterday Essien expressed his determination to join Chelsea but Aulas is not giving up hope of retaining his star player.

He said: “We are not ready to let Michael go. We cannot keep him against his will but we can convince him to stay at Lyon.

“His team-mates and the supporters want him to stay at OL because if Lyon do not manage to keep their best players no other club will manage to do it either.

“Essien had told me 10 days ago that he was happy at Lyon, but things have changed in his head since.

“We must take all that into account but I remain convinced, like coach Gerard Houllier, that we have far more chances to win the Champions League one day if Essien stays with us next year.”

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