Essien is on the verge of signing for Australian club Melbourne Victory
Once Michael Essien noticed the Australian way of life, he sought out the opportunity to continue his illustrious football career in the A-League.
With news of a potential deal with Melbourne Victory imminent, fellow Ghana international Lloyd Owusu, who has lived in Australia for four years after a stint with Adelaide in the A-League, has told foxsports.com.au that he has been in contact with his compatriot and helped sell the A-League to him in recent weeks.
Owusu, who enjoyed a long career in England, primarily with Brentford, where he played over 200 games, and Yeovil Town, revealed that he has been in regular contact with the midfielder who has played for giant European clubs Lyon, Chelsea, Real Madrid and AC Milan before leaving Greece outfit Panathinaikos in the off-season.
“He’s been speaking to me in recent weeks,” Owusu revealed.
“I think he’s seen a few of my pictures on (social media) and he likes the look of it.
“It’s great for the family lifestyle choice. I’ve told him, no disrespect to Australian football, it’s not about a monetary thing because of what he can still get in Europe … but for a guy coming to the latter end of his career (it’s perfect because) he’s been there and done it.
“He’s got wonderful family, three kids; it’s the type of country to come at the end of his career. “He’s always asked about the football. I said Alessandro Del Piero (has come), Emile Heskey, my other good mate, and over the years it has really developed - the talent pool, style of play and a guy of his calibre playing No.6 or No.8, breaking up attack, I believe he will be perfect for a club that can secure his services.”
He added: “I knew there was a bit of dialogue – I even put his name forward to a certain A-League club previously. “Then I just mentioned it to him and he said if there’s any interest let him know because it would take his fancy from what he’s seen from me for the last four years, it looks like a great country.”
Essien would play an important role adding star power to the competition, and Owusu says the midfielder would be aware of that aspect of being a marquee player. “He’s a very humble man, very family orientated, religious, good guy - full stop – and he wouldn’t want to come here just for the money, even though he’ll get a good wicket.
“One, he wants to play at a good level. Two, he will be great playing with the younger players and three, he will help promoting the A-League as an overall package. That definitely would have enticed him to play over here.” What was the competition’s biggest sell to a player who has played in Ligue 1, the Premier League and Serie A?
“First and foremost, it’s about a different football, something he wants to be involved in, and it’s a new football – it’s so far away. “He’ll bring something different. “The lifestyle (was a factor), especially if you’re going to bring out the family. “If the family’s happy, he will be happy. Australia just makes you happy; the great weather, you feel good yourself. “All those attributes will tell if he joins Melbourne Victory.”
And Victory will be getting a player who is a favourite son at Chelsea, where he won two Premier Leagues, and a bona fide icon in his homeland. “I always remember when he signed for Chelsea, we had an international against Togo, 2006.
“It was hero worship. When he goes back, he is a legend. “He comes from humble beginnings and done really well financially for himself but looked after his family and his village and his charities.”
Owusu says that Essien’s fitness won’t be in issue and if Victory do land their prized recruit, they’re getting a “beast, a machine” who also has phenomenal skill, which he first witnessed in 2005.
“I always remember we did a keep ball session and Essien, Stephen Appiah and Sully Muntari, I just couldn’t get the ball off them. I actually stopped and clapped. “And Michael would have been about 20 at the time. This guy is unbelievable.”
He added: “Victory will be a force to be reckoned with. He’ll bring a diversity of play - I wouldn’t say he’s creative but he’ll bring a concept of how to defend, break down teams, the way he can nullify attacks … it will be such an asset because he can break down play and then transition into attack. “(If they sign him), they’ll be a real force.” culled from foxsports.com.au