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Former Chelsea and Ghana star Michael Essien seals SHOCK move to Indonesia

Published on: 14 March 2017
Essien with the owners of Indonesian club Persib

Former Chelsea star Michael Essien has sealed a SHOCK and bumper move to Indonesia after penning a one-year deal with the top-flight Asian side Persib Bandung on Tuesday.

This comes just comes just one day after Ghana's leading football news website Ghanasoccernet.com exclusively revealed that the midfielder had arrived in the Asian country to seal the move.

True to the report, the West Java-based club announced on Tuesday that they have signed the midfielder on a one-year contract.

Michael Essien

"Welcome! @MichaelEssien is officially a member of #PERSIB's big family," a statement from the club read on Tuesday evening Indonesian time.

The deal will make the midfield icon the highest paid player in the  Asian country with a reported 800,000 Euros a year salary.

Essien will be officially unveiled today at a ceremony which coincides with the 84th anniversary celebrations of Persib.

Essien, who turned down a move to Australia's Melbourne Victory last September, spent eight seasons at Chelsea, winning two English Premier League and one UEFA Champions League titles.

Indonesian media reported Tuesday that Essien has signed a one-year deal at the start of the new league season with an option to extend for one more.

He becomes the biggest name to play in the Indonesia top-flight league this season.

He will wear the number five jersey for The Blue Prince (as Persib are nicknamed).

The 34-year-old defensive midfielder was unemployed since 2015, after he left Greek club Panathinaikos, for which he only scored one goal in 13 appearances.

Prior to Persib's offer, he was in talks with three Swedish clubs but the Indonesian club offered the biggest deal which forced the move.

Essien was available on a free transfer after leaving Greek side Panathinaikos at the end of the season.

The 34-year-old will be playing for his seven club abroad after Bastia, Olympique Lyon, Real Madrid and AC Milan.

At his peak time at Chelsea, he won nine trophies, including two Premier League and an UEFA Champions League titles.

The 34-year-old Ghanaian is the highest profile signing for Indonesian soccer since Cameroon World Cup hero Roger Milla and Argentine World Cup winner Mario Kempes played in the country in the 1990s.

 

Indonesia has attracted few big names international players in the past. Kempes and Roger Milla, stars of the 1978 and 1990 World Cups respectively, had short spells in the country at the very end of their lengthy careers.

More recently, former England international Lee Hendrie spent around eight months in 2011 with the now-defunct Bandung FC.

Essien played at two World Cups for Ghana, who he represented 58 times, before retiring in the wake of the 2014 tournament in Brazil.

Based in Bandung, Persib is one of the most well followed teams in the Indonesian Liga 1, which the club first won in 2014.

Persib is home to former Adelaide United and Brisbane Roar marksman Sergio van Dijk, and formerly housed ex-A-League players Marcos Flores and Diogo Ferreira.

It has more than two million followers on Twitter alone.

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