Lyon warn United over Diarra
By Patrick Haond. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Lyon have warned 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 Sir Alex Ferguson's top target this summer, with the United manager making a personal check on the player in the UEFA Champions League tie in Milan last week.
Diarra scored an away goal against last season's finalists but two late goals torpedoed the French champions' hopes of progressing in the competition.
Although reports in Spain claim United have already agreed a deal with Lyon, with Real Madrid being urged to match that offer before a deadline of this Sunday, the Ligue 1 leaders claim they want to hang onto their powerful performer.
Marca have reported that a deal would already be done to take Diarra to Old Trafford, but for the African's preference to head for Madrid, even though he has previously expressed a desire to play in The Premiership.
"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."