Lyon have made it clear that Chelsea will have to raise their bid for midfielder Michael Essien to 46milion euros (£32m) if they are to be successful.
Lyon have already turned down a £21m bid from Chelsea, but club president Jean-Michel Aulas has now insisted that Chelsea must raise their offer to £32m, the figure they were prepared to pay Liverpool for Steven Gerrard.
“Talks have not stopped,” Aulas said. “We have more chance of winning the Champions League if he stays.
“But if he has to go then we want what you’d get for the best players in his position and Chelsea were ready to pay the asking price for Gerrard.”
Essien is currently in South Korea with Lyon, but has made it clear he wants to go to Chelsea. Aulas conceded: “I wouldn’t say he’s being deliberately difficult but he’s a very unhappy man and that hurts the rest of the squad.”
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has admitted that he would still like to sign another midfielder before the start of the new campaign.
“We have still a space in midfield,” Mourinho said.
“It’s not somewhere we have problems. We’re not in trouble but we have a space. So, during the open market if we can get a good player we’ll do it.”