The midielder has revealed that he was on the verge of signing for the Anfield side but the Blues brought an improved offer later
Former Ghana and Chelsea international Michael Essien has revealed that he almost signed for Premier League side Liverpool in 2002.
After making a name in France with Bastia, Essien became a transfer target for many clubs in Europe and Liverpool’s former French manager Gerard Houllier tabled an offer for the defensive midfielder but the deal fell through.
The 37-year-old believes it wasn’t the best time for him to play in England until Jose Mourinho and Chelsea came into the scene.
“I had lot of offers. I was close to signing for Liverpool when Gerard Houllier was their coach,” Essien said in #ConvosWithCarol.
”I even went to Melwood to meet the coach. We had a talk and I returned to France but the offers were still coming. PSG, Olympique Marseille et al, but I told Bastia I don’t want to move and they also didn’t want to sell me at that time because they wanted me to stay for another year which was fine with me because I also didn’t want to leave the club so I stayed for another season, that’s my third year with the club.
”Olympique Lyon joined the three aforementioned clubs to enquire about me but I thought it was too early to move to England that was why I joined Lyon and later moved to Chelsea under Mourinho,” he said.
“Lyon were my favourite team when I went to France because they were winning everything. I told my agent that if Lyon have come into the picture I’d like to join them.
”PSG were then serious about signing me to the extent that they made an offer. I was back home at that time and the call came that PSG had made a bid for me. It was even on the national television that I had signed for PSG which I had not because I was still in Ghana.
”There was a lot of controversies going on between the board and my agent so when I went back to Bastia, we met with the board members and the president, and I told them I’d prefer to join Lyon although I liked Paris.
”I was really caught between PSG and Lyon but my preference was always Lyon. I had then spoken to the president and their coach. I gave them my word that when I return from my holidays in Ghana, I’ll do everything to sign for them but It was not easy,” he added.
Essien, after signing for Chelsea later in 2005 for £24.4 million, became the club’s most expensive player at that time under Jose Mourinho and went on to win the Premier League title in his maiden season.