Remembering Michael Essien’s Chelsea Debut : The transfer of Michael Essien from Olympique Lyon to Chelsea in the summer of 2005 was one of the biggest movement sagas as the popularity of the Ghanaian footballer rapidly went up.
The combative midfielder made 256 appearances for the London side across 8 seasons. But how did it all begin for Michael Essien at Chelsea?
On 14 August 2005, Lyon and Chelsea agreed a £24.4 million fee for Essien, ending one of the longest-running transfer sagas.
At the time, the fee made Essien Chelsea’s most expensive signing of all time, surpassing the £24 million Chelsea paid for Ivorian striker Didier Drogba the previous summer. The transfer went through on 19 August , 2005.
The transfer came under scrutiny in the Stevens inquiry report, which expressed concerns because of the lack of co-operation from agents Pini Zahavi and Barry Silkman.
By the time Essien became a Chelsea player officially , the team of Jose Mourinho had already contested the 2005 Community Shield ; a 2-1 win over Arsenal on 7th August 2005 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
In the club’s opening game of the 2005/06 Premier League season , Essien was not part of Mourinho’s squad to face Wigan Athletic.
The midfield maestro finally made his debut as a second-half substitute against Arsenal on 21st August 2005, wearing the number 5 on his shirt at the Stamford Bridge.
The former Black Stars midfielder replaced Eiður Guðjohnsen in the 59th minute as the match ended in a 1–0 victory to Chelsea thanks to Drogba’s 73rd minute winner.
He made an assist in his full debut against West Bromwich Albion on August 24th. The Portuguese trainer lined up Essien , Claude Makelele and Frank Lampard in midfield with Joe Cole , Shaun Wright-Phillips and Didier Drogba up front. Chelsea won the game by 4-0 and Essien was one of the top performers.
He soon cemented his place in José Mourinho’s side, starting in 31 domestic league matches, as well as 11 appearances in other cup competitions.
The Ghanaian left Chelsea at the end of the 2013/14 season with 2 Premier League titles , 4 FA Cups and 1 UEFA Champions League won.
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