When Chelsea came calling in the summer of 2005, Essien couldn't say no. He takes up the story.
"The whole thing came about one afternoon while I was at Florent Malouda's house, having a barbecue," the Ghanaian told chelseafc.com. Malouda was at Lyon with him.
"He got a call from Didier Drogba asking about me, and he said, “Oh, Michael is right here." He put him on the phone to me and that's how everything started.
"It was a very long saga, that transfer, and very frustrating that it took so long because I really wanted to come to the Premier League. In the end we managed to come to an agreement and I was really excited when I first walked into the club at Chelsea.
"As I said, it was my dream to play in the Premier League and Chelsea showed a very big interest in me, so when the deal went through I was very happy. I came in and everything went well."