By Tom Blackburn
Lyon chairman Jean-Michel Aulus says attacker Rachid Ghezzal has rejected a move to Everton.
The outspoken chairman claims the 24-year-old has opted to stay at the Ligue 1 club despite a bid from the Merseysiders being accepted by the French club.
“We had a very high offer from Everton that was accepted, but he denied it,” Aulus told the French public on Mercato365 radio RMC.
“Now we have to extend his contract to prevent it reaching its end. The offer from Lyon is very high and corresponds to international salaries.
“I’ll call him on Tuesday or Wednesday, because I know he refused Everton. I’ll try to convince him one last time and Gerard Houllier will also help me. If he thinks Lyon is better than Everton, he must accept our proposed extension.”
Experienced journalist Khaled Karouri, claimed last week on his personal Twitter account that the Toffees had began talks with the representatives of the 24-year-old.
Info : des discussions ont enfin démarré entre les agents de Rachid Ghezzal et Everton. Pas encore d'accord mais discussions entamées. #OL
— Khaled Karouri (@KhaledKarouri) August 18, 2016
The post read ‘Info: discussions have finally started between staff of Rachid Ghezzal and Everton. No agreement yet but discussions.”
However it now appears talks have collapsed, though it is unclear whether Everton will make another attempt to sign him.
French outlet Le 10 Sport claimed that the Toffees had submitted a bid of £11.3million, which had led to the contract discussions.
French newspaper L’Equipe claimed two weeks back that West Ham had offered for £6.8million plus bonuses for the Lyon attacking midfielder, and they may now look to reignite their pursuit.
The Lyon academy graduate has six Algeria caps, scoring his first goal for El Khadra against Ethiopia.
Ghezzal has made 81 Lyon appearances in all competitions after signing with the French giants when he was just 12 years old.
He made his debut at just 20 years of age against Israeli club Ironi Kiryat Shmona, and has scored 11 goals during his Les Gones career.
In other Everton transfer news, West Ham match £20million-plus-add-ons Ronald Koeman bid for 24-year-old goal machine.