Michael Essien has revealed he came close to signing for Liverpool while Gerard Houllier was boss before he joined Chelsea in 2005.
Essien, 37, had a brilliant nine-year spell at Stamford Bridge and won the Premier League twice, but it could have been different had he made the move to Liverpool after visiting Melwood to speak to Houllier.
Essien also says he turned down a move to PSG and signed for Lyon for €7.8million in 2003 after leaving Bastia.
“I had lot of offers [when I was at Bastia]. I was close to signing for Liverpool when Gerard Houllier was their coach,” Essien said in an interview on Instagram Live via Goal.
“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.
“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,” Essien continued.
”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.”