The former Ghana international said there used to be doubts over the suitability of African players to the major European leagues.
‘Drogba and I made European clubs trust in spending big on African players’ – Essien
Michael Essien believes his, and Didier Drogba’s, impressive performances at Chelsea changed the perception of European clubs and made them more inclined to spend big on African players.
That, Essien said, changed after he and Drogba excelled during their time together at Chelsea after being signed by Jose Mourinho.
"It is always a big question if there is a big transfer over an African player. Didier [Drogba] was there, he showed it a year before I came [to Chelsea] and I followed it up," Essien told Sky Sports.
"I think he gave some trust to the rest of the clubs that they can spend the money and trust the process."
Essien became Chelsea’s record signing when the club forked out £24.4 million to price him away from Lyon in 2005.
He spent almost a decade at Stamford Bridge, helping the Blues to win two Premier League and FA Cup titles, four FA Cups and the UEFA Champions League in 2012.
The 40-year-old also had stints with Real Madrid and AC Milan before calling time on his career after a brief spell with Azerbaijani side Sabail FK.
Essien has since taken to management and is currently serving as a first-team assistant coach at Danish side FC Nordsjaelland.
He also recently acquired both the UEFA A and UEFA Elite Youth A licenses.
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