Tuesday May 19, 2020. 16:00
Former Ghana captain Michael Essien has revealed that he came close to joining English giants Liverpool FC.
The central midfielder visited Melwood which is Liverpool’s training complex, to hold talks with back-then Reds manager Gerard Houllier in 2002.
Essien had established himself as one of the best players in his position in France while playing for Bastia.
The Accra-born player rejected an offer from Liverpool and he remained with Bastia, before moving to French giants Olympique Lyonnais in the following year.
“I had lot of offers [when I was at Bastia]. I was close to signing for Liverpool when Gerard Houllier was their coach,” Essien said on Daily Mail.
“I even went to Melwood to meet the coach. We had a talk and I returned to France but the offers were still coming. PSG, Olympique Marseille et al.
“But I told Bastia I didn’t want to move and they also didn’t want to sell me at that time because they wanted me to stay for another year which was fine with me because I also didn’t want to leave the club.”
Essien moved to Liverpool’s English rivals, Chelsea in 2005 where he achieved legendary status as he won two Premier League titles, four FA Cups and UEFA Champions League trophy.
“So, I stayed for another season, that’s my third year with the club. Lyon joined the three aforementioned clubs to enquire about me,” he continued.
“But I thought it was too early to move to England. That was why I joined Lyon and later moved to Chelsea under Mourinho [in 2005].
“Lyon were my favourite team when I went to France because they were winning everything. I told my agent that if Lyon have come into the picture I’d like to join them.”
Essien, who will turn 38 in December 2020, is currently on the books of Azerbaijan club Sabail.