Experienced Ghanian midfielder could be snapped up by Hammers boss Sam Allardyce this summer.
Chelsea’s Michael Essien has emerged as a target for West Ham next season, after being told he has no future at Stamford Bridge next season.
The 30-year-old was once a key player in Chelsea’s starting lineup, earning a reputation for his strong play from midfield, as well as an ability to score the occasional long-range wonder-goal.
However, injuries have disrupted his career in recent years, and he has found himself down the pecking order at the club under their various different managers over the last two seasons. He was sent out on loan to Real Madrid this season, after his old Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho was keen to work with him again, but he hasn’t managed to hit his best form at the Bernebeu either.
Real do not plan to keep him, and he has expressed his desire to return to Chelsea and fight for his place, though they seem to have other ideas in mind, as they are linked with the likes of Real Madrid’s Sami Khedira and Roma’s Daniele De Rossi in the transfer market.
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce is said to be monitoring Essien’s situation, as he is on the lookout for a defensive midfielder of this kind to add to his squad this summer.
The Hammers have had a good year in the Premier League having won promotion from the Championship last season, and are currently in 10th place in the table. They will hope to push on next season, but may lose their current first choice defensive midfielder Mohamed Diame, whose displays have attracted attention from Arsenal and Tottenham, and who nearly left the club in the January transfer window due to his appealing £3.5million minimum release fee clause.
Essien could be an ideal like-for-like replacement for Diame if he leaves, and could come cheap with Chelsea looking to offload the Ghanian. His physical and aggressive style of play would appeal to Allardyce, who is known for forming teams of experienced and competitive players from his time at Bolton and Blackburn.
The Hammers boss’ priority for the summer, however, is to secure the permanent signing of Liverpool’s Andy Carroll, who has had an impressive season on loan at Upton Park this year. The 24-year-old is also wanted by his former club Newcastle.
Meanwhile, Essien could be followed out of the Stamford Bridge exit door this summer, as the club plans a clear-out of several under-performing squad players such as Fernando Torres, Yossi Benayoun and Victor Moses.
Essien’s current contract expires in 2015, and he could move for around £5million, significantly less than the £24.4million the Blues paid to sign him from Lyon in 2005, which at the time made him the most expensive African player in the history of the game.