In our look at the latest Chelsea-related news stories from the media, Michael Essien talks about his early career in France and Harry Redknapp talks about the part he played in helping Frank Lampard to get his first job in management.
These stories are samples pulled from external media sources. They do not represent the views or position of Chelsea Football Club.
Essien nearly became a Red
Former Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien has revealed he could have become a Liverpool player when they were managed by Gerard Houllier but opted instead to continue his development at Bastia, Goal.com reports.
Having joined the Ligue 1 side at the age of 19 in 2000, the Ghanaian’s performances in his first two seasons there attracted interest from a number of clubs including Paris Saint Germain, Marseille, Lyon and Liverpool.
‘I had lot of offers [when I was at Bastia]. I was close to signing for Liverpool when Gerard Houllier was their coach,’ said Essien in an interview on Instagram Live.
‘I even went to Melwood to meet the coach. We had a talk and I returned to France but the offers were still coming. PSG, Olympique Marseille et al, but I told Bastia I didn’t want to move and they also didn’t want to sell me at that time because they wanted me to stay for another year which was fine with me because I also didn’t want to leave the club.’
He eventually left Bastia at the end of the 2002/03 season but decided to remain in France.
‘I thought it was too early to move to England. That was why I joined Lyon and later moved to Chelsea under Mourinho [in 2005],’ he added.
‘Lyon were my favourite team when I went to France because they were winning everything. I told my agent that if Lyon have come into the picture I’d like to join them.’
Redknapp on helping Lampard get first managerial job
According to the Evening Standard, Harry Redknapp has spoken about the role he played in helping Frank Lampard get his start in management despite his nephew’s rejection of the first job he was offered.
The former Tottenham manager told Sky Sports he initially arranged an interview for Lampard with Ipswich Town in 2018.
‘First off I got Frank the job at Ipswich with Marcus Evans,’ said the 73-year-old. ‘I phoned him, I said: “you need a manager, Frank Lampard's your man.” He met him, loved him, offered him the job.
‘Frank said, “Harry, they've got no budget, it's difficult, I can't bring any players in”. I said it was a great club but you've not got a magic wand, you're going to need a bit of help.’
While that opportunity fell through, another job soon opened up at Derby County.
‘I rang [Derby chairman] Mel Morris,’ Redknapp continued. ‘He told me he was going to go for an experienced manager, I said: “You keep getting managers and getting rid of them, you've not been very clever at picking managers. Take Frank Lampard.”
‘He said he had no experience, but I replied: “There's been lots of great managers who've had no experience - look at Graeme Souness, Kenny Dalglish, Steven Gerrard… He knows the game. He's a great professional, he understands football, he'll bring so much to the football club.”
‘The next day he met him in London, they had a meeting at 7 o'clock, half past eight he rung me and said he'd blown him away. I've given him the job. And that was it.
‘I had no doubts he'd be a success. He's a clever, bright lad, his work ethic is incredible, he's been brought up with the game, he'll be amazing.’
Van Gaal expects Ziyech to shine at Chelsea
Former Ajax and Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal believes Chelsea have signed an excellent player in Hakim Ziyech and he expects the Morocco international to thrive in the Premier League, Goal.com reports.
Ziyech scored 49 goals in 165 games during his four seasons with Ajax and was recently named their player of the season for a third consecutive year.
‘He has developed tremendously at Ajax. Not so much in creativity, but as a team player,’ said Van Gaal, who led Ajax to Champions League success in 1995 and the Netherlands to third place at the 2014 World Cup.
‘The public has come to realise that he works very hard for a creative player. And then he also scores goals and gives assists.
‘That makes you a special player.’