Michael Essien Will Join Real Madrid on Loan

Ben ChodosCorrespondent IIAugust 31, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 13:  Michael Essien of Chelsea in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Blackburn Rovers at Stamford Bridge on May 13, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Ian Walton/Getty Images

Real Madrid will sign Chelsea center midfielder Michael Essien on loan for the remainder of the season.

ESPN FC reported the move via Twitter:

Real Madrid have announced that Michael Essien is joining on a season-long loan from Chelsea.

— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) August 31, 2012

The 29-year-old Ghanaian was one of the most coveted players in the world during the 2005 summer transfer window, and Chelsea bought him from Lyon for £26 million.

At his best, Essien is a ferocious presence in the center of the pitch whose strength and athleticism allow him to dominate the space in between the defense and the attackers. He is an extremely strong tackler, but still has touch and makes intelligent decisions with the ball.

This was the player Blues supporters became familiar with in his first two seasons at Stamford Bridge.

However, his career with Chelsea has been marred by injuries in recent seasons. He missed the majority of last season with a knee injury and appeared in just 14 English Premier League matches. He missed significant time in the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons as well.

John Obi Mikel and Frank Lampard have occupied the deep-lying midfield positions in two of the Blues' three Premiership matches this season, with Raul Meireles taking Lampard’s place in one fixture. This left little room for Essien in the lineup.

As Goal.com’s Wayne Veysey notes, Madrid is in talks with Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala over selling Lassana Diarra. Essien would be an ideal replacement for Diarra and be ready to step immediately into a comfortable position for Jose Mourinho’s side.

This move puts Essien in an excellent situation, as he will still be playing at the highest level of football.