Former Chelsea midfield star Michael Essien is set to continue his career – in Azerbaijan. The 36-year-old had been without a club for a year after leaving Indonesian club Persib Bandung in March 2018.
He has now signed an 18-month contract with Sabail FK of the Azerbaijan Premier League. He will play for the first-team as well as manage the club’s U-19 side.
Essien is best remembered for his starring role for the Blues during the 2000’s. He was affiliated to the West London giants between 2005-2014. During that time, he went on to make 256 appearances in all competitions, scoring 25 goals and was regarded as one of the best midfielders in the Premier League during the peak of his career. Essien helped Chelsea to win two Premier League titles, four FA Cups, one League Cup and the Champions League during the 2011-12 season.
The former Ghana international is a one-time Chelsea Player of the Year award winner, having won the prize during the 2006-07 campaign. Essien represented Ghana between 2002 and ended his international career following the 2014 World Cup. The Ghana team was eliminated during the group stage of the tournament in Brazil amidst behind the scenes turmoil in which Essien was reported to be a key figure.
Essien might be past the peak of his career but he could still have a lot to offer playing in a less demanding league such as in Azerbaijan. It also looks like the move will help him to prepare for a possible future career in coaching.
Speaking about his interesting new move, he said as quoted by BBC: “I was here three weeks ago.
“I had a good chat with the club and they told me about the project.
“I thought about it, liked it and here we are. It’s a different thing to what I have seen before.
“It looks interesting and exciting, so I’m happy to be here.”