Soccer Aid ace Michael Essien snubbed Liverpool after meeting manager and visiting training ground

(Photo by Jonathan Moscrop - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)
-Credit: (Image: (Photo by Jonathan Moscrop - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images))

Chelsea legend Michael Essien almost made a move to Liverpool before becoming a Premier League title-winner. The former Ghanaian midfielder spent nine trophy-laden years at Chelsea, also lifting the Champions League and FA Cup on five occasions.

Essien rose to prominence with French side Bastia as a teenager and attracted interest from a number of clubs across Europe. He would eventually join Ligue 1 rivals Lyon in the summer of 2003 but only after making a visit to Merseyside.

The 41-year-old - who is featuring in this year's Soccer Aid at Stamford Bridge - even spoke to former boss Gerard Houllier about a possible move to Anfield.

READ MORE: Soccer Aid squads in full as former Liverpool stars feature at Stamford Bridge

READ MORE: Who do Soccer Aid celebrities support? Liverpool fans and ex-players playing in game

"I had lot of offers [to leave Bastia]. I was close to signing for Liverpool when Gerard Houllier was their coach," Essien said on Instagram Live back in 2020.

'I even went to Melwood to meet the coach. We had a talk and I returned to France but the offers were still coming. From PSG, from Marseille but I told Bastia I didn't want to move and it also didn't want to sell me at that time. Bastia wanted me to stay for another year and I also didn't want to leave the club."

Essien eventually moved to Stamford Bridge under Jose Mourinho in 2005 in a $31m (£24m/€28m) deal, becoming the club's record signing in the process. He is famed for a long-range effort against Arsenal and was involved in some iconic tussles with Liverpool, both domestically and in Europe.

After a loan spell with Real Madrid, he joined AC Milan in 2014 before spells in Greece, Indonesia and Azerbaijan a the end of his career. He reflected on his career in the same Instagram video and named Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard as one of his toughest opponents.

The ex-midfielder added: "It is between Gerrard and Paul Scholes. They were tough to play against. They were not only good on the ball but they could tackle really hard.

"They were really tough but the Premier League was much more tough compared to now. Every team you come up against was difficult so you have to try to be tougher." says: Essien was a top player on his day and would have been an excellent addition to the Liverpool midfield. The Reds did win the Champions League after he snubbed the move but he may have well made a difference domestically. Liverpool didn't really have a top holding midfielder until Javier Mascherano's arrival.