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Michael Essien explains why he didn't complete Man United transfer

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Michael Essien has revealed how a phone call from Didier Drogba convinced him to move to Chelsea instead of Manchester United.

The Ghanaian midfielder attracted plenty of attention in the summer of 2005 after rising to stardom with an impressive two-year spell at French side Lyon.

Essien says United were one of the sides to show an interest in signing him, but that regular contact with Jose Mourinho soon convinced him Stamford Bridge would be a better option.

However, it was when he attended a barbecue at Florent Malouda's house that he ended up speaking with Drogba on the phone in a conversation which would shape his future.

“My second year at Lyon, when we finished the season, I came back to start pre-season with them and I came back very happy to start pre-season. That’s when the other teams started coming in like Chelsea and Manchester United,” Essien told South African reporter Carol Tshabalala. 

“At that point I’d have loved to have joined United. But I was speaking with Jose every other day and he made It clear, very straight to me, that he wanted me to join Chelsea and there was only Chelsea that could pay the transfer fee at that time.

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“It was not easy but I remember the first time I spoke to Jose. I went to Malouda’s house for a barbecue and then during the barbecue Drogba called him and he and Drogba started speaking because they are very close and then Drogba asked him, ‘When you see Michael, whenever you see him, can you tell him Jose wants his number, Jose wants to talk to him?’ but then he said, ‘No, Michael is here, we’re having a barbecue!’. 

“So he gave the phone to me and I started speaking to Drogba and that’s how we started. I passed on my number to him and he passed it on to Jose and that’s when everything started. It was a tough transfer saga.”




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