Lyon have rejected a fresh offer from Chelsea for their highly rated midfielder Michael Essien.

Lyon say the 22-year-old Essien has agreed an extension to his contract to 2009.

“We want to keep Essien and he’ll stay here unless we received a stupendous bid,” said new coach Gerard Houllier.

“The best recruitment policy starts by keeping your squad together and we don’t intend to upset a winning squad.”

Houllier confirmed Lyon also wanted to sign Czech striker Milan Baros from his former club Liverpool.

He met Baros on Wednesday after a World Cup match in the Czech Republic.

“He was surprised to see us but pleased and said he would think it over,” Houllier said. “We’ll just have to wait.”

Essien has attracted interest from Premiership champions Chelsea.

“Chelsea is my best contact and I know they are interested in signing me,” the £15m-rated Essien earlier said.

“That is great joy for me because they are one of the best in Europe and I’ve always dreamed of playing in England.”