'€38 million? I'm not worth it' - Essien

August 19, 2005

PARIS, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Chelsea-bound Ghana midfielder Michael Essien says he is not worth the transfer fee of €38 million ($46.47 million) the English champions have agreed to pay to buy him from Olympique Lyon.

'I'm pleased to be valued higher than (Chelsea's Ivory Coast striker Didier) Drogba or (Juventus and France midfielder Patrick) Vieira but that's not going to change me,' said the 22-year-old.

'I know what I'm worth as a footballer and it's clear that I'm not worth 38 million euros but that's football business and I'm not responsible for it,' Essien told Friday's edition of French magazine France Football.

French champions Lyon resisted pressure from Chelsea for weeks before letting Essien join the London club on a five-year deal in the most expensive transfer involving a Ligue 1 player.

The paperwork for the protracted transfer is expected to be completed on Friday.

'It was impossible for me to stay (at Lyon),' Essien said. 'As soon as Chelsea expressed interest, I wanted to go there.

'I can perfectly understand (Lyon) president (Jean-Michel) Aulas. He defended his club's interests but I defended mine.

'I'm very excited to be joining Chelsea. It's a dream come true.'

Essien said he did not know yet when he would be able to start for Chelsea but hinted it could be very soon.

'Maybe I'll play a few minutes against Arsenal (on Sunday),' he said.