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Lyon have rejected Chelsea’s latest offer from Chelsea for midfielder Michael Essien.

The French champions are believed to have turned down a bid in excess of £21m, and have told the London club that they want as £32m Lyon plus player in exchange.

However, a deal could still materialise after president Jean-Michel Aulas agreed to meet Blues owner Roman Abramovich.

“Even if the distance between what Lyon would like and Chelsea are offering has diminished, the two parties are not in agreement,” said a Lyon statement.

The Lyon statement said that, although no meeting had been planned on Thursday, Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon had “let it be known that he was present at the Argenson restaurant opposite the Lyon offices”.

Aulas had sent Lyon director Marino Faccioli to look at the new offer, and it was turned down.

“Jean-Michel Aulas has accepted the principle of a rendezvous with Roman Abramovich at the start of the next week in the south of France,” the statement continued.

“But… Lyon are worried about Chelsea’s repeated efforts to get the agreement of Michael Essien by all means.”

Aulas told French newspaper Progres that he expected Chelsea to pay £31m, and offer a player in part-exchange.

“They shouldn’t take French clubs for fools,” said Aulas.

“Michael is worth between 45 and 50 million euros (£31-35million) and because time has been wasted if we are to recruit if Essien leaves us now, I estimate that our player will leave for 45 million euros, while bringing in one Chelsea player.

“Rather than unceasingly calling the player to make it all the more sad, Mourinho would do better to call me directly. Chelsea will learn to know me.”

Kenyon has said Chelsea are prepared to wait until the last day of the transfer window on 31 August to sign Essien.

But Mourinho has is growing increasingly impatient with the delay.

“I hope we are sure about that soon – he comes or he doesn’t come. If he comes, great – if he doesn’t come it’s not a drama,” said Mourinho.

“But I need to know. One more option, a great option. But one more.

“If we get Essien we can say we have improved every area of the team. If we don’t, we still have good options.”

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