By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent
Michael Essien has held talks with Chelsea this week and has been assured by the club that he will not be part of their summer fire sale, Goal.com can reveal.
The Premier League holders are expected to overhaul their ageing squad this summer, and Essien is among the high profile names linked with a move in the next transfer window.
Manchester City and Inter are believed to be eyeing a swoop for the 28-year-old midfielder, whose contract still has another four years to run.
Yet Essien held talks with Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck on Thursday and was told that he still figures in the club’s long-term plans.
“He has spoken to the [Chelsea] chairman,” Essien’s agent Fabien Piveteau told Goal.com. “He will stay at Chelsea next season, the club want him to stay and he will be there for the next four seasons.
“Lots of clubs are interested in Michael but the answer is the same – he is very happy at Chelsea. Everything is fine and everybody is happy about Michael’s situation. Now he is looking forward to the future.”
Nevertheless, Essien is not regarded as untouchable by Stamford Bridge insiders as he was before a season in which his standards have dipped alarmingly at times.
Two serious knee injuries sustained on international duty with Ghana in the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons – the second of which kept him out of last summer’s World Cup – have hampered his ability to command the midfield, particularly the torn ligament in his left knee sustained in training while he was participating in the 2010 African Nations Cup.
Essien has recovered to be a regular performer in Chelsea’s least successful season of the Roman Abramovich era and has started all the club's marquee games, often as the anchorman in place of the struggling John Obi Mikel.
However, the influence of the versatile midfielder, who signed from Lyon for £24.4 million in 2005, has waned and he will need a strong finish to the campaign to silence the doubters.