Remember Michael Essien?
He is infamously remembered for being central to one of the most dramatic and longest transfer sagas in the history of football – which eventually culminated in him leaving Olympique Lyon for Chelsea back in 2005, before he went on to play for the likes of Real Madrid, AC Milan and more recently, Panathinaikos in Greece.
FROM BERNABEU TO BANDUNG
It now appears that Michael Essien has opted for a move to Indonesian football. Earlier today, Indonesian side Persib Bandung officially confirmed the signing of Michael Essien, who is set to don his iconic number 5 shirt for the Pangeran Biru.
— PERSIB (@persib) March 14, 2017
This comes as a major boost for the Indonesian side, who are celebrating their 84th anniversary as a football club this year. In fact, team manager Umuh Muchtar sees the signing as a perfect gift for the fans.
“Today, we’ll be announcing the signing. This is a big gift for everyone. Essian is an excellent play and he’s definitely world class,” Umuh was quoted as saying by CNN Indonesia.
It does look like a weird move, given that Essien’s last club was a reputable Greek side in the form of Panathinaikos. Surely he had offers to play in a bigger league or for bigger teams?
According to reports, Essien’s representatives did hold talks with multiple teams all over the world, including Melbourne Victory in Australia as well as Muangthong United in Thailand. But it appears that Persib, who are currently looking to boost their squad and challenge for the title this year, made the strongest offer to acquire his services.
This comes as a major boost for the Indonesian outfit, who last won the league title in 2014. But their aspirations of going gung ho in 2017 seems to be on track, with Indonesian national team star Raphael Maitimo reportedly set to follow in the footsteps of Essien by signing for the Bandung-based side,
THE ONE WHO NEVER REALLY MADE IT?
There’s very little doubt over whether Michael Essien is a world class star, but to many, he is widely regarded as a player who never entirely fulfilled his potential. The Ghanian star was a key player under Mourinho’s set-up at Chelsea but his continuous battle with injuries ended up affecting his development in the following few years.
After his career started dwindling at Chelsea, Essien was rescued by Mourinho again, who opted to bring him over to the Santiago Bernabeu on-loan. He made 21 appearances and scored two goals before making a permanent move to AC Milan in Italy. He continued to struggle for game time in Serie A and barely clocked 20 appearances before moving to Panathinaikos in Greece.
His Chelsea stint was arguably the greatest period in his career. During his time at Stamford Bridge, Essien won two Premier League titles, four FA Cups, one League Cup and was even part of Roberto Di Matteo’s Champions League winning side in 2012. The defensive midfielder was also voted as African Footballer of the Year in 2006, before being picked as Chelsea’s Footballer of the Year in 2007.