Why a Michael Essien Return Makes Sense for Jose Mourinho's Chelsea
It may seem like Michael Essien has been around forever, but the man from Accra is still just 30 years of age and still has a handful of seasons of top quality football to give Chelsea Football Club.
Essien is set to follow Jose Mourinho back to the London side after spending a year on loan at Real Madrid.
Savvy defensive midfielders, who are only expected to cover a certain area of the pitch and have an ability to read the game effectively, can extend their playing careers well into their 30s.
Two examples of players of Essien's ilk doing just that are Patrick Vieira, who played at a high level until the age of 35, and Gennaro Gattuso, who is now 35 and played for Italian giants Milan up until last year, before joining current club Sion.
With a bevvy of high-caliber attack-minded players, including Oscar, Eden Hazard and Juan Mata, now calling Chelsea home, Essien will not be required to provide as much forward thrust in Mourinho's midfield as he once was, and he could prove a very useful counter-weight to shield the defense.
In terms of motivation, Essien has an excellent relationship with Mourinho, and that strong bond reaps benefits for both club and player.
As Sky Sports reports, the Ghanaian is clearly enamored with the "Special One's" coaching style and personality in general.
He gives everything and he is very friendly. It's funny how some people see him when he is giving interviews, but he is a lovely man. I think he has got what most managers don't have. He is very close with his players, always trying to get the best out of his players and talking to his players. He knows when you aren't doing well and tells you, so you do well in the next game. You have to keep fighting.
When a footballer feels like he belongs at a team and is comfortable with the manager, there is no doubt he is better able to produce his best work on the pitch.
Meanwhile, the Portuguese has shown in the past that he values loyal players just as highly, signing the likes of Ricardo Carvalho multiple times for different clubs. The fact he brought Essien himself to Real Madrid on loan proves he still considers him an asset on the field.
Versatility is another factor that will count in Essien's favor when Chelsea's starting 11 is announced each week.
Can Michael Essien become a key player for Chelsea once again?
He was regularly used at right-back during his time in Madrid and could potentially fill any number of positions if Chelsea needed gaps to be filled.
If the "Bison" can remain injury free, he could once again prove a vital cog in a squad that is tipped by many to push hard for this season's Premier League title.
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