Graphic Online

Graphic Online 

Indonesia: Michael Essien linked with switch to Persib rivals

Author: Kweku Zurek
Michael Essien

Former Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien has been strongly linked with an exit from Persib Bandung to Persipura Jayapura after missing several days of training with his current club in the Indonesian Liga 1.

The Ghanaian midfielder's current deal with Persib expires on December 31, 2018 but the club has an option to extend it for one more year.
 
However, their rivals Persipura are keen to prise him from the Persib ranks after he scored five goals in 29 appearances during the last season.
 
Those goals aided Persib to stay up - after they finished  13th out of 18 teams and they were hoping to improve on their performances this season but the Essien, 35, has not reported for pre-season training.
 
"I did not hear from him, he did not come to practice," Persib coach Mario Gomez said in an interview with BolaSport.com..
 
"But I know he went to London," he added.
 
However, a Director of Persib, Teddy Tjahjono insists that Essien will remain loyal to his Persib contract and is only in London for rehabilitation on an injury.
 
"[Essien] is still recovering [injury] in London and next week plans to return [to Bandung]," explained Teddy to CNN Indonesia.
 
After injury troubles in Europe the former Real Madrid and AC Milan midfielder has returned to form in Indonesia and has proved a massive draw for fans in the Indonesian Liga 1.
 
Essien nicknamed The Bison made his name at Stamford Bridge with Chelsea winning nine trophies including two English Premier League titles, four FA Cup trophies and a UEFA Champions League between 2005 and 2014.
 
He has also played for Bastia, Lyon, Real Madrid and Panathinaikos since moving to Europe from Liberty Professionals in 2000.