Michael Essien is all set to leave Chelsea after AC Milan are close to signing him on a free transfer. Popularly known as ‘The Bison’, Essien symbolised the powerful midfield Chelsea had during the first spell of Jose Mourinho. He had the power, skills, pace, and quality to play in every position possible. Two anterior cruciate ligament injuries, though, proved to be much stronger than the Ghanaian, as he never recovered from it.
It was becoming quite clear that he was not going to reach the heights of 2005, 2006, and 2007. After making just nine appearances this season, there have been rumours about Essien’s departure.
AC Milan have welcomed the 31-year-old with this statement on their official site: “Michael Essien expected in Milan this evening.”
Jose Mourinho today confirmed that Michael Essien’s future at Chelsea was in his own hands. Since a World Cup place was at stake, he was more likely to live. Mourinho said:
“Michael Essien at the moment is in a position at the moment where he can go or he can stay. If he stays we will be more than happy.
“He is a fantastic club man and a fantastic team player.
“But if something big comes for him he is another one who we feel we must show the respect and to show him the respect is not to stop him from going.”
Essien was once the club’s record signing at £24 million. He has made 250 appearances and scored 25 goals. His trophy haul is impossible to say the least with two Premier League, one Champions League, 4 FA Cups, and one League Cup medals.
Individually, he won the BBC African Footballer of the Year in 2006 and Chelsea’s Player of the Year award in the subsequent year. His goals against Arsenal and Barcelona have won the Chelsea Goal of the season award twice.
He leaves the club as a true great, but someone who could have been much more had it not been for the injuries.