Goal.com’s Kent Mensah says it is Essien’s last chance to shine, else he might find himself back at the Stamford Bridge as a dignified spectator
You might have woken up on Saturday morning – September 1, 2012 - with the news that Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien has reunited with his former boss Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid. It is not an April Fool prank.
That is a big surprise, judging from the fact that it did not find its way in the most powerful transfer rumour mill and not even the dreaded transfer deadline day.
But it did not come as a shock. The Portuguese coach is known for all manner of unpredictable possibilities. He is an Essien fan and knows what the Bison is capable of doing as a midfield general.
The 29-year-old is down the pecking order at Chelsea and the best way out to return to his previous form was to go out on loan. He can be assured of a fair amount of playing time under the watch of The Special One unlike The Blues’ Roberto Di Matteo, who has discovered gold in Nigeria’s John Obi Mikel and Raul Meireles.
The midfield dynamo made only 14 appearances for the European champions last term after recovering from a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in January, consequently losing his first-team place. An in-form Essien controls the heart of a team to cause and force his opponents’ coach to change formation and strategies over and over again.
NEEDS A COMPANY | The Special One can't wait for the Bison to sit by his side at the Bernabeu
He has got the stamina. He possesses the ability to score on rare occasions from far and wide with lethal strikes that send goalkeepers running for cover. The former Olympique Lyon player is ferocious at his best in the midfield, giving him that advantage to dominate the space between the defense and the strikers. The illustrious son from Ewutu in the Central Region of Ghana is naturally calm, but physically aggressive on the field to the discomfort of his opposite number. His sense of judgment when it comes to passing is brilliant.
The Ghanaian made the headlines worldwide during the 2005 summer transfer window when The Blues bought him from Lyon for £26 million. However, the Essien of 2005 to 2007 is being missed in 2012. Injuries have not been fair to him and have marred his dreams. He was missing in action in most part of the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons.
A player of his caliber can no longer warm the bench. He does not deserve to be on the bench – apologies to stars warming benches. Most Ghanaians think so too about their star. Essien’s move has been the highlight of the transfer window for most Ghanaians as 2,765 (72.88%) voted in favour of a possible move to a new club in a Goal.com Ghana poll, with 707 (18.63%) saying “No” whiles 322 (8.49%) were undecided.
His reunion with the Special One at the Bernabeu has come at the right time as he seeks to revive his sinking career. No one understands him better than the man who saw the gem in him seven years ago.
Moving to the Bernabeu puts him in a strategic and excellent position now because he will still be playing at the highest level of football in the Spanish La Liga. This is Essien’s last chance to shine, else he might find himself back at the Stamford Bridge as a dignified spectator.
Did Michael Essien make the right decision to move to Real Madrid on a season-long loan deal? Cast your vote and leave your comments too below.
Follow Kent Mensah on