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Lyon have told Manchester United that they will have to exceed the £24.5 million Chelsea paid for Michael Essien if they want to land Mahamadou Diarra.

The Mali midfielder is believed to be a target for Sir Alex Ferguson this summer, but the Ligue 1 leaders claim they want to hang onto the midfielder.

Acccording to reports in the Spanish press a deal with United has already been agreed, although Lyon chairman Jean-Michel Aulas has denied the speculation.

“There will be no revolution,” Lyon chairman Jean-Michel Aulas told But.

“We want to keep that squad and improve it, where it is possible.

“Diarra will be with us next season, even if a good deal is still possible.

“But people have to know he will be more expensive than Essien.”

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