Former Ghana international midfielder has opened up on his failure to secure a move to Manchester United as a youngster despite wanting to work with Sir Alex Ferguson.
After starring Ghana's Black Starlets in the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Cup Championship in New Zealand the midfielder caught the glimpse of the Old Trafford hierarchy where he underwent a successful trial.
But according to Essien, the move failed to materialise 20-years-ago because he was refused a work permit due to age barrier.
"After the U17 World Cup, I had the chance of going to Man United for trials which I qualified but I couldn't get the work permit to work there," he told South Africa based iono.fm.
"That forced me to go to France. I took a different route and went to France."
The former Ghana star ended up joining Chelsea for £24.4million from French outfit Lyon in August 2005 where he won a host of laurels with the London outfit which includes the 2011/12 UEFA Champions League.