Essien sale to boost Lyon

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Michael Essien's proposed £26 million departure to Chelsea is set to prelude an influx of new signings at the Stade de Gerland with Lyon receiving the full fee in a single installment.

Lyon adviser Bernard Lacombe has confirmed that the French champions will be stepping up their attempts to bring in a replacement for Essien, despite having already recruited defensive midfielder Benoit Pedretti.

He confirmed: "The priority is to hire a replacement for Essien.

"We are still looking at Toulouse's Achille Emana and Tiago as well but the price of ‚é¼12 million may be too much.

"On Tuesday I will leave for Japan to talk to the Brazilian Fabinho. He is a free agent in December and wants to join Lyon."

Essien's sale may even enable Lyon to make a move for Real Madrid's unsettled striker Michael Owen but Lacombe conceded that they would have to release a striker, possibly Nilmar, before considering a move for Owen.

"Sochaux and Strasbourg have shown interest in a loan deal for Nilmar but he would prefer to move abroad and Benfica, Real Sociedad, Fenerbahce and Corinthians are all possibilities," he added.

Nilmar's departure may be swiftly followed by another with fellow frontman Pierre-Alain Frau attracting interest from Marseille.

The 25-year-old rarely figured for Lyon last term and l'OM officials are reported to have made contact regarding a loan move for the former Sochaux player.