Guarin arrival could spell the end of Essien's career at Stamford Bridge.
In fact, Chelsea paid more for midfielder Essien than they did for Didier Drogba, who went on to become one of the club’s greatest ever goal-scorers. But they did indeed splash out a whopping (at the time) £24.4 million for the player nick-named ‘The Bison’.
Now, it seems that Essien could be on his way in January. According to reports in the national media, Essien could make way as Jose Mourinho makes his move for highly-rated Inter Milan midfielder Fredy Guarin when the transfer window opens next month.
There will be plenty of Chelsea fans sorry to see Essien leave, if indeed he does depart west London. In his pomp, Essien was a truly frightening box-to-box midfielder, a supremely powerful figure who was just about the complete package.
He helped Chelsea to two Premier League titles, and a remarkable four FA Cups, as well as the 2012 Champions League. He was nominated for the 2006 Ballon d’Or, and was also voted the BBC African Footballer of the Year.
Essien has made more than 200 appearances for Chelsea, a total which would have been considerably higher were it not for several serious knee injuries which have curtailed the latter stages of his career, and that may be one factor which will count against him.
Mourinho undoubtedly likes Essien, even taking him on loan when he was manager of Real Madrid – player and manager jokingly call each other ‘son’ and ‘daddy’.
But at 31 years old the Ghanaian is beyond the peak of his career and has lost much of his previous zeal, and it is difficult to see quite what he brings to Chelsea this season.
Colombian Guarin, meanwhile, is four years Essien’s junior, and can play either in central midfield or on the right. If Chelsea meet Inter’s asking price, a deal may well be done.
image: © Live4Soccer(L4S)