When Chelsea faced Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup in August it was a bizarre occasion for many reasons. While the quick-fire hat-trick of Falcao caught many of the headlines during the 4-1 defeat there was another piece of news from the Stade Louis II stadium in Monaco that was attracting interest.
The game was played against the backdrop of transfer deadline day and as several teams from across Europe tried their best to bring in new recruits all eyes were on Daniel Sturridge to see if he would stay at the club this season.
In the end however it was an entirely different player who ended up leaving that day.
Originally named in the match-day squad Michael Essien was pulled out mid warm-up and asked to fly to the Spanish capital; he was to join Real Madrid on loan until the end of the season.
For Essien it was a clearly bizarre set of circumstances but with first-team football not assured at The Bridge he took it with open hands; the chance to team back up with Jose Mourinho obviously grabbed his attention.
Now you have to ask just who won out of that deal.
For Chelsea it made sense. The Ghanaian has had a tough few seasons struggling with injury problems and while his class is undoubted his fragility is ditto.
However when Oriol Romeu picked up an injury and with Frank Lampard out for vast swathes of the season I can guarantee that Chelsea wished they had never given the green-light for this move.
Because now they have to watch on as Essien marches toward potential Champions League glory while they play in Europe’s plate competition; the Europa League.
Chelsea’s season has been far from a disaster. It looks like they will finish in the top four and they have two cup semi-finals to play so kudos to them but with Essien the humble utility man they could have possibly done so much more.
For his most recent performances at Real have come in the right back slot and we can all recall him playing in various areas of the midfield in the past and even adopting a central defence position in more desperate times.
Jose Mourinho is obviously a fan regardless of any lingering worries over fitness and if the Portuguese returns to Stamford Bridge you can almost guarantee he will want to keep Essien by his side.
Do you think Chelsea should have kept Michael Essien this season?
image: © Live4Soccer(L4S)