Michael Essien said “I had lot of offers [when I was at Bastia]. I was close to signing for Liverpool when Gerard Houllier was their coach. 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.”
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