Ex-Chelsea star Michael Essien has disclosed that Jose Mourinho discouraged him from making a transfer to London rivals Arsenal during his playing years in England.
Towards the climax of his time at Chelsea, Essien started attracting interest from other clubs, which lead to Mourinho getting wind of a rumour he was planning to join Arsenal.
However, according to Essien, Mourinho then got on the phone to inform him to ditch any planned move to Arsenal and go to Real Madrid with him.
“I was with Chelsea in Monaco for the Super Cup and a strange number called me but I didn’t want to answer it but my cousin who was in the room with me that day told me to pick it up,” Essien said on Instagram Live with Carol Tshabalala.
“The number kept calling so I picked and as soon as I said hello and another hello came from the other end and I realised who was on the phone so I told my cousin it’s Jose Mourinho.
“We started talking and he said, ‘I heard you’re on your way to Arsenal’. But I told him it’s not true. I had not heard anything from Arsenal. Then he said don’t go to Arsenal, come to me and I asked him where, and he said Real Madrid so I told him I’m ready.
“It was the last day of the transfer window and he said okay give me your agent’s number. I told him I’m ready even if it means I have to leave in the midst of the Super Cup game.
“He said Lassana Diarra was supposed to move to Russia so if he accepts to go then they will process my transfer and I told him, ‘OK, I’m waiting, just chilling in my room’. He said give me a couple hours I’ll call back and I said cool.
“My agent called after a few hours and said what happened and I told him I spoke to Jose about moving to Madrid and said he gave Jose my number. He told me to relax because Madrid will come and I just said OK.”