Australian club set to sign Essien

EssienMelbourne Victory are interested in taking advantage of the A-League’s new guest player rule with the signing of former Chelsea star Michael Essien.

The club confirmed on Wednesday night that the Ghanaian was one of several big-name players they are running the rule over before the new season starts next month.

Essien, 33, has been without a club since leaving Greek side Panathinaikos at the end of last season and would become the A-League’s second guest marquee after Socceroos star Tim Cahill signed for Melbourne City.

“Melbourne Victory can confirm it has made enquiries about securing former Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien as a full season guest marquee player for the 2016-17 season,” the club said.

“Essien is one of a number of high-profile foreign players the club has investigated during the pre-season, as it looks to bolster its squad for the upcoming campaign.”

Football Federation Australia chief executive David Gallop confirmed Victory had made enquiries about using a portion of the league’s marquee guest fund for the signing of Essien – and that FFA had given the club the green light to do so.

“Michael Essien has had a tremendous domestic and international career, which qualifies him for a position on a player roster as a full season guest marquee player and we have come to an agreed financial contribution if a club was to come to an agreement,” Gallop said.

News Limited reported that Victory were deep in negotiations with the midfielder and just personal terms remained to be agreed.

FFA introduced a guest player rule to facilitate the signing of Cahill last month; A-League clubs can now sign a further star player in addition to their two existing marquee slots in a 23-man squad.

Essien made his name at French club Lyon, where he became one of the hottest properties in European football. Chelsea won the race to win his signature and he spent nine years at Stamford Bridge, twice winning the Premier League and the Champions League once.

After a spell on loan at Real Madrid, Essien moved to AC Milan before most recently playing for Panathinaikos in Greece.

– theguardian

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