Lyon (France), Chelsea FC (England)
2003 Vainqueur du Trophée des champions (Lyon) 2004 Vainqueur du Trophée des champions (Lyon) 2004 French 1st Division.. Champions (Lyon) 2005 French 1st Division.. Champions (Lyon) 2002 French Cup Finals (Bastia)
Michael Essien (born December 3, 1982) is a Ghanaian football
player. He currently plays for Chelsea F.C. in England.
He began his career in a local club in his native Ghana, called
Liberty Professionals. He broke through when he played in the
Under-17 World Cup in 1999 in New Zealand. This led to
considerable attention from European scouts.
In July 1999, Bastia, a club from Corsica, signed Essien. At
Bastia, he was not very regular, playing at right back, left
back and central defense. Then because of an injury to one of
his teammates, he was given a temporary opportunity to play in
central midfield. Essien played very well in this role. In 2001,
even though he was one of the youngest players in the tournament,
he took part in the World Youth Championship in Argentina, and
performed exceptionally well. He made his Ghana senior debut in
the 2002 African Nations Cup.
Soon he was compared to Frenchman Patrick Vieira because of his
ability to go from box to box. In 2002/2003 season he brought
Bastia into the UEFA Cup. He scored 6 goals that season. He
became physically stronger and a harder tackler. Soon Paris
Saint-Germain, Lyon and Marseille made offers for him. He was
not only popular in France, but also in England. Both major
Merseyside teams, Liverpool and Everton, made offers for him.
PSG made the best offer and Bastia accepted it, but Essien
rejected it, and moved to Lyon. At Lyon, Essien played more
defensive midfield, featuring regularly in the Lyon team that
won the third of their current string of four consecutive Ligue
In August 2005, Essien declared that he would "go on strike"
against Lyon because of the club's refusal to transfer him to
English Premiership champions Chelsea. It was announced on 14
August that Lyon and Chelsea had agreed a £26m fee for the
Ghanaian, finally ending one of the longest running transfer
sagas in recent English football history.
The transfer went through on 19 August, purportedly for a
slightly reduced fee of £24.4m, nevertheless breaking Chelsea's
previous record transfer fee, which they achieved the previous
season by paying £24m for Olympique Marseille's Didier Drogba.
He made his debut against Arsenal on August 21, wearing the
number 5 on his shirt. He has already seemingly cemented his
place in José Mourinho's side, starting the majority of the
league games since his debut. He got an assist in his full debut
against West Bromwich Albion, and he replaced the injured Claude
Makélélé in the defensive midfield role against Sunderland in
the 2-0 win on September 10, 2005. The midfield of Chelsea looks
to have been strengthened by the powerful, athletic Essien, who
could well form the Chelsea midfield with Frank Lampard for the
next five or more years. On 15 December, he was handed a 2-match
ban by UEFA for a controversial tackle on Dietmar Hamann.