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Michael Essien has revealed Liverpool attempted to sign him from former Ligue 1 club Bastia.

Updated: Sep 8, 2020

  • Essien opted to remain at Bastia when Liverpool came calling.

  • The midfielder marshall signed for Chelsea in 2005 and won several trophies with the Blues

  • The former Ghana international said he visited Melwood to hold talks with Houllier before rejecting the move to Anfield.

Jose Mourinho having talks with Michael Essien during a Chelsea FC training session at Rajamangala Stadium back in 2013 [Getty]
Jose Mourinho having talks with Michael Essien during a Chelsea FC training session at Rajamangala Stadium back in 2013 [Getty]

Michael Essien has admitted he was close to signing for Premier League giants Liverpool while he was still playing for Ligue 1 side Bastia. Essien, 37, was linked with a move to several elite clubs in Europe during the early years of his career in France, and he also visited Liverpool's training complex - Melwood - where he held talks with former Reds boss Gerard Houllier. Following the visit on Merseyside, nothing materialised as he turned down the move to Anfield. Essien spent three years with Bastia before joining Lyon in 2003 - and won two Ligue 1 titles [in 2004 and 2005]. He later signed for Chelsea where he won the Champions League, two Premier League titles, four FA Cups and a League Cup during his nine-year stint at Stamford Bridge. 'I had lot of offers [when I was at Bastia]. I was close to signing for Liverpool when Gerard Houllier was their coach,' Essien revealed in an interview on Instagram Live.

More: Rooney explains why Park deserves praise for the part he played at Man Utd. '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. 'So I stayed for another season, that's my third year with the club. 'Lyon joined the three aforementioned clubs to enquire about me but 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]. '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.'

Essien added: 'PSG were then serious about signing me to the extent that they made an offer. I was back home at that time and the call came that PSG had made a bid for me. It was even on national television that I had signed for PSG, which I had not because I was still in Ghana. 'There were a lot of controversies going on between the board and my agent so when I went back to Bastia, we met with the board members and the president, and I told them I'd prefer to join Lyon although I liked Paris. 'I was really caught between PSG and Lyon but my preference was always Lyon. I had then spoken to the president and their coach. I gave them my word that when I return from my holidays in Ghana, I'll do everything to sign for them but It was not easy.' More: Enrique is keen to see the Premier League season return to action.

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