The 35-year-old, a top name on the wish list of then Blues manager Jose Mourinho, was subject of a prolonged tussle between the two clubs over a lack of financial agreement.
Eventually, the move came through, with the 2012 European champions coughing out £24.4 million to sign the midfielder in a five-year deal.
"The whole thing came about one afternoon while I was at [then Lyon teammate] Florent Malouda’s house, having a barbecue," Essien, currently unattached, narrated to the Blues' official website.
"He got a call from [the Chelsea striker] Didier Drogba asking about me, and he said, 'Oh, Michael is right here'. He put him on the phone to me and that’s how everything started.
"It was a very long saga, that transfer, and very frustrating that it took so long because I really wanted to come to the Premier League. In the end, we managed to come to an agreement and I was really excited when I first walked into the club at Chelsea.
"As I said, it was my dream to play in the Premier League and Chelsea showed a very big interest in me, so when the deal went through I was very happy. I came in and everything went well."
Essien ultimately spent nine years with Chelsea, helping the side lift their only Champions League title.
The Accra-born also won the Premier League trophy on two occasions, the FA Cup title four times, the Community Shield twice and the League Cup once.
He netted 25 times for Chelsea. His ferocious left-footed volley against Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final in 2009 was recently voted as his best by fans of the London-based club.