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Lyon say Boumsong deal is being delayed

PARIS, Jan 25 (Reuters) - France defender Jean-Alain Boumsong's move to Olympique Lyon is being delayed by Juventus, who are refusing to release him until they have found a replacement, the Ligue 1 leaders said.

Lyon, three points clear at the top before visiting neighbours St Etienne on Sunday, had earlier said a deal had been settled and Boumsong would be joining them for three and a half years.

'I've never seen anything like this in 30 years,' Lyon administrative director Marino Faccioli said in a statement.

Meanwile, Lyon have agreed to release Czech striker Milan Baros, who is poised to join Premier League club Portsmouth on loan with an option to buy him, French sports daily L'Equipe reported on Friday.

Meanwhile, Lyon coach Alain Perrin has confirmed Milan Baros is in talks with Portsmouth about a possible return to the Premier League.

Pompey boss Harry Redknapp revealed earlier this week he was interested in signing the Czech Republic striker, who has found first-team opportunities hard to come by at Les Gones this season.

Perrin, who had a short and unsuccessful spell in charge of Portsmouth in 2005, admitted the south-coast club are holding talks with the player.

'We will see how discussions progress with Portsmouth before deciding whether to involve him in the squad (for Sunday's Ligue 1 game against St Etienne),' he said.

Baros is valued at €7million but could agree a loan deal with Pompey for the rest of the season, with a view to sealing a permanent move in the summer.

Lyon also said they were tired of reading reports that several leading clubs were chasing France striker Karim Benzema. 'We understand that such a player is an interesting target but he will not leave Lyon,' the club said in a statement.