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LDN Blue

Michael Essien

Started by LDN Blue,

1,141 posts in this topic

Born near the capital city of Accra in his native Ghana, Michael Essien has followed in the footsteps of his famous countryman - Marcel Desailly, in his rise to the very pinnacle of the list of world class footballing exports from Africa.

After starting his career at local club Liberty Professionals, 'Ess' caught the attention of several European clubs during Ghana's run to a 3rd place finish in the 1999 u-17 World Cup. An unsuccessful trial at Manchester United followed (it would later be famously revealed that he was considered 'too small' to make it as a footballer), and the promising starlet was snapped up by France's SC Bastia. Not yet a regular starter, young Michael was required to fill in whenever injuries struck his teammates, a practice that saw him deployed everywhere in defence. Another such positional shuffle to centre midfield would fortuitously result in the world getting it's first glimpse of the Essien we all know and love today. 3 seasons at Bastia highlighted by a French Cup final appearance in 2002, culminated into a 7.8 million Euro move to one of the French and European giants,Olympique Lyonnais. Interestingly, Paris St Germain had initially won the race to sign the tenacious midfielder, only for Essien to reject personal terms in favour of Lyon. The move catapulted Essien into the big time and his abilities came to the fore as Lyon raced away to consecutive league titles in 2004 and 05. Playing alongside the likes of Juninho Pernambucano, Edmilson and Mahamadou Diarra, Michael established himself as a permanent fixture in the midfield. A more defensive role at his new club required him to put on show his physical qualities, and one of the worst disciplinary records in the French Ligue Un remained the only botch on his trophy-littered short spell there, crowned by the award for the French Player of The Year 2005.

Summer of that year brought with it speculation of a move abroad, with much of the interest coming from across the English Channel. Newly crowned league champions Chelsea and perennial contenders Manchester United (the club who had originally rejected him as a 17 year old), did battle for his signature. A bitter and lengthy transfer saga ensued, and Chelsea got their man in August for a whopping 24.4 million £ - the club's record signing at the time, and was handed the number 5 shirt upon his arrival Manager Jose Mourinho obviously knew what he was looking for, because Essien didn't take much time at all while slotting into his new side. He made his debut as a second half substitute in a 1-0 victory against Arsenal, and a full debut followed against West Brom in the league. His disciplinary problems however followed him to these new shores, a situation that saw him collect several yellow cards and also a UCL suspension - something that proved costly when Chelsea were eliminated by Barcelona in the Round of 16 tie. 2006 saw him score his first of many for the club and it was all the more sweeter considering the goal came in a win against arch local rivals Tottenham. His first season in England was fruitful on personal as well as team level. Chelsea successfully retained their league title and Essien picked up BBC's African Footballer of the Year award. The following year really established Essien as a part of the Chelsea 'spine'. While his drive, ferocity, energy and battling qualities in midfield remained intact, he also developed the knack of scoring important goals - none more so than a stunning long range late equaliser against Arsenal at home, an effort that served to maintain Chelsea's impressive unbeaten home record. Another crucial effort away against Valencia took Chelsea through to the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League. His importance to the club was underlined when he was voted the Chelsea Player of the Year for 2007 by the fans. The dramatic goal against Arsenal was voted Goal of the Season for 2007. The following year ended on disappointing note for all connected with Chelsea Football Club. Early season was witness to charismatic manager Jose Mourinho parting ways with the club, while end season saw them finish second in 3 out of 4 competitions. Essien's versatility came to the fore once again in a season ravaged by injuries. Regular appearances at centre half and right back underlined his indispensability to the club. He was famously beaten to the headed opener by Cristiano Ronaldo in the Champions League final held in Moscow. But it was a small defeat when compared to what Essien had done throughout the year. Fans of the club were delighted when Michael put pen to paper on a new 5 year contract with Chelsea in the beginning of the 2008-09 season. Unfortunately they wouldn't see much of him during the months that followed, courtesy of an anterior cruciate ligament injury sustained while on international duty. His absence was strongly felt as new manager Phil Scolari sought to embark on a successful spell. Essien returned amid much eager anticipation against Coventry in the FA Cup in March 2009. On his second game back from injury, in a Round of 16 second leg tie away at Juventus, he scored a crucial away goal just before half time and followed it up with the only goal of the game against Manchester City in the next league game. His penchant for score dramatic yet exquisite goals continued against Barcelona in the Champions League semifinal second leg tie at Stamford Bridge. The magnificent left footed volley from outside the box won him the Goal of the Season award but unfortunately proved inconsequential as Andre Iniesta's late, late leveller saw Chelsea dumped out of Europe in extremely controversial circumstances.

Another season brought along another manager, this time in the form of 4 time UCL winner Carlo Ancelotti. Essien began the season in excellent form as Chelsea raced away to the top of the league in the early months. An anticipated slump in form around December saw them relinquish their lead before Essien departed for African Cup of Nations duty. It proved to be his last involvement for months to come. Yet another injury while being away with Ghana not only ended his club season while also ruling him out of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, it also reduced him to a mere spectator as Chelsea recovered from their slump to lift the Premier League trophy after a gap of 3 years and also the FA Cup - a feat that saw them become only the 7th English team of all time to celebrate the revered 'Double'.

There are no two ways about it - Michael Essien is a vital cog in the Chelsea machine, and consistently energetic, driven and committed no-nonsense performances from 'The Bison' will be relied on heavily by Carlo Ancelotti as he masterminds a way back into league contention while still keeping an eye on Chelsea's final frontier - the UEFA Champions League.

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Who wouldn't want a player like Michael Essien on there team, Chelsea will never sell him.

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Who wouldn't want a player like Michael Essien on there team, Chelsea will never sell him.

For the right price, anyone can be sold. Didn't Torres teach you anything? ;)

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AC Milan could make an £18m bid for Essien in the summer, and could offer a player in exchange!

Source: Metro (plus other sources)

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Fuck off Milan!!!

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The only player I like from Milan is Pato but we don't need strikers so they have nothing to offer us for Essien.

But I think he will stay because he seems very happy at Chelsea and after some bad months he is showing good performances.

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Pato is too fragile and Essien is a great player, probably hasn't had the best season but he will bounce back. He is the Bison afterall, no way we are going to sell him

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For the right price, anyone can be sold. Didn't Torres teach you anything? ;)

touche, tiphat.gif. He seems happy at the club and is still a key piece to the squad so I don't see it happening.

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Essien is happy at Chelsea

skysports.com

Nothing is true," Piveteau told tuttomercatoweb.

"I have not had any contact either with AC Milan or any other clubs, because everyone knows that Chelsea is happy with the player and Michael is happy at Chelsea.

"He is well in London and intends to stay there for the next three years."

Honestly, I've never doubted about his commitment. He's been a brilliant servant and a team player. It would be fantastic if he found his previous form though :eyebrows:

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Really no. im favoring keeping him. i read on the teletext newspaper thingy that Ac milan are in for him Again and want to pay around 18-25 million plus A player for his services. id rather keep essien. he will be pretty special next season IMHO

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Really no. im favoring keeping him. i read on the teletext newspaper thingy that Ac milan are in for him Again and want to pay around 18-25 million plus A player for his services. id rather keep essien. he will be pretty special next season IMHO

yeah, me too. He will provide all the dynamism in the midfield that we need in the next season.

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When it comes to teams wanting our best players we should do what (with gritted teeth) what Liverpool did to us rant.gif

If AC Millan want Essien we say to them £45m plus Merkel and Pato and he is yours if not fuck off thumbsup.gif

eldo and termninja like this

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