Lyon have confirmed that they are interested in signing Real Madrid striker Michael Owen – with the money they are set to receive for Michael Essien.

Essien is set to join Chelsea for £26m and Lyon, intend to spend the money before the transfer deadline closes at the end of August.

Lyon spokesman Bernard Lacombe said: “We are ambitious and there are a few players we are interested in.”

Lyon boss Gerard Houllier, who managed Owen at Liverpool, added: “I get on well with Michael and I still have contact with him and his family.”

England forward Owen is tipped to leave Real Madrid, where he is expetced to be a peripheral figure following the arrival at the Bernabeu of Brazilian duo Julio Baptista and Robinho.

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has already admitted he is interested in signing the player.

He said: “If you ask me whether I would be happy to welcome Michael Owen to the club, the answer is yes, of course I would,” he said.