Michael Essien has spoken of his delight at sealing a transfer to Milan, claiming such a move has always been one of his footballing dreams.
The Ghanaian international spent last season on loan at Real Madrid, but upon his return to Chelsea, he struggled to force his way into the first team picture. During the first half of the existing campaign, having made just nine appearances in all competitions, of which only five have been made as a starter under coach Jose Mourinho.
Essien was due to become a free agent at the end of the season, but due to the service he has given the club since joining from Lyon in 2005, the Londoners were willing to let him leave now on a free transfer. And when the 31-year-old was offered the chance to link up with Clarence Seedorf at the San Siro, he didn’t have to think twice.
“I’m looking forward to starting to play with the group and I can’t wait to give everything to the group,” said the midfielder. “Jose Mourinho said it would be a great experience and I would settle well in Italy. I told friends that before retiring that I wanted to play for this club and achieve my dream. Milan always play to win trophies.
“I know I’m coming to a big club. I’ve chosen the number 15 shirt. I’m fit and ready to play. I just need to work hard to put himself up for selection for the coach. I’m looking forward to playing with all of the players. I’m excited to play in the Champions League here as I was not registered with Chelsea. I played a couple of times against Atletico Madrid but with the players we have here we can win the game against them.”
During his time at Stamford Bridge, Essien two Premier League titles, four FA Cups, and he was part of the 2011-12 UEFA Champions League winning squad. That he is not cup-tied for the latter this season will come as a huge boost for Milan, who appointed Seedorf to succeed the axed Maximiliano Allegri earlier this month. The Rossoneri have endured a difficult campaign in Serie A, and are currently in ninth position.