Jose Mourinho may only be a day in the Chelsea job, but he doesn’t have much time to waste as he goes about organising his summer schedule. Chelsea have a good squad of players, but there is still a lot of work to do in preparation for the coming season. One of Mourinho’s first jobs will be to assess the squad and decide who stays and who goes. Identifying the needs of the team comes before any big moves in the transfer market, and while some decisions are easier than others, one of the biggest decisions he will have to make is what to do with Michael Essien.
Essien was signed by Mourinho in 2005 for nearly £25 million pounds and quickly became one of the most dominating all-round midfielders in the Premier League. The pressure that comes with such a big price tag seemed to have no effect on the Ghana international, and he became a mainstay in the Blues’ team, but several injuries restricted his appearances. After only 19 appearances in 11/12, Jose came calling once again and signed him on a season long loan at Real Madrid. Essien made 34 appearances for Real last season-many of them in defence. He has since spoken of his love and admiration for Mourinho, and will be desperate to fight for his place at Chelsea this season
Essien has a contract up to 2015, but it remains to be seen whether Mourinho will look to keep him on the books. At Real, Essien was not part of a long term plan – he was merely filling a season long hole in the squad. As Jose looks to build his very own long-term project at The Bridge, he will have no choice but to be ruthless. The needs of the club come ahead of sentiment. That being said, there were times last season where we were desperately short of options in midfield. While we have an excellent first team, our squad options are limited by number, if not ability. Michael Essien has been a great servant to the club, and he could still perform a role for us, but I doubt whether he fits in with our long term plan. Whether he stays to give us a short-term option will come down to one man. Welcome back Jose – it’s time to start working