Ghana's Mensah signs for Lyon

Ghana captain John Mensah has turned down the chance to play in the English Premier League in favour of an 8.4 million euro five year deal with French champions Lyon.

The 25-year-old central defender, courted by English sides Portsmouth and Wigan, said he was excited about linking up with his new teammates like Juninho and Karim Benzema.

"It's not going to be easy for me but I'll do my best," added Mensah who will be renewing his acquantaince with Kim Kallstrom, a former colleague of his at Rennes.

"I had a few offers, mostly from English clubs but I opted for Lyon on the insistence of my agent."

Mensah is the third Ghana international to wear the Lyon colours after Abedi Pele (1993-94) and Chelsea's Michael Essien (2003-05).

"These are major players but I hope to do better than they did," he said.

According to Lyon manager Claude Puel the new signing "is one of the best defenders in the French championship."

"He's explosive, quick and tough," said Puel of Mensah who will join a backline comprising Brazilian Cris and Jean-Alain Boumsong for the upcoming season that could see Lyon winning their eighth successive title.