Partey is being linked with Arsenal ahead of the summer market.
The Ghanaian, who has a buy-out clause of around £45million in his Atletico contract, has featured in 24 of Atletico's 27 league games this season and has been a standout player for Diego Simeone's side.
"Thomas is such a good player. I'd have loved to play with him," Essien, who plays for Azerbaijani club Sabail, told South African reporter Carol Tshabalala.
"He is a young and talented player making waves in Europe. He is one player I'd liked to play alongside but it will never happen."