x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

More woes for Chelsea as Essien is injured again

The midfielder will need surgery on ruptured cruciate ligament after problems have limited the Ghanian to just 55 starts in three seasons.

Michael Essien, Chelsea's Ghanaian midfielder, centre, has had many injury interruptions during his tenure at Stamford Bridge.
Michael Essien, Chelsea's Ghanaian midfielder, centre, has had many injury interruptions during his tenure at Stamford Bridge.

An examination of Michael Essien's injured right knee has revealed a ruptured cruciate ligament that will require reconstructive surgery. The Chelsea midfielder is expected to be sidelined until at least the spring of next year.

Sources close to Essien have told France Football that the injury is not an aggravation of the cruciate ligament tear the Ghana international had operated on three years ago. The new damage came to light when Essien complained of heavy swelling on his knee following a pre-season training session last week.

Arguably the most physically impressive player to grace the English game, the 28 year old's career has been derailed by a series of knee problems that have limited him to 55 Premier League starts in the last three seasons. Questions have been raised about the African's treatment under Bryan English, who was recently dismissed as the club's medical director.

In September 2008, Essien suffered a partial tear of his cruciate ligament in a pre-season friendly against Lokomotiv Moscow.

A French specialist warned Essien the ligament was close to rupturing and recommended immediate surgery.

After discussions with the player, however, Chelsea's medical department decided to manage the injury, sanctioning Essien's return to first-team duty until the knee gave way on international duty.

In January 2010, Essien underwent surgery for a tear to his left meniscus that Chelsea said would require a "four to six-week" recovery period. Mistakes in the post-operative treatment resulted in him being operated on three more times in quick succession and missing the World Cup.

Essien did not play competitively again until August.

Although Chelsea had been looking for buyers for John Obi Mikel after an indifferent season, they may now retain the Nigerian.

Other options for the holding role are England Under 21 international Josh McEachran - who started one Premier League game under Carlo Ancelotti, the former manager - and David Luiz.

Meanwhile, Arsenal yesterday confirmed they have agreed a deal with Lille for Gervinho, the Ivory Coast forward, subject to "a regulatory process".

Gervinho, 24, looks set to complete the move in the coming days. The Ivorian scored 15 goals to help Lille win the Ligue 1 and Coupe de France double last season. He has also represented his country on 27 occasions - including at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa - scoring six times.

A statement on the Premier League club's website read: "Arsenal Football Club announces that Ivory Coast international forward Gervinho will shortly join the Gunners, subject to a regulatory process."

The transfer was confirmed on the same day that Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager, restated his belief that Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri would remain at the club, despite speculation linking the midfielders with big-money moves away from the Gunners.

However, Wenger sounded positive yesterday that both would be lining up for the London side when the new season kicks off on August 13. Speaking in Kuala Lumpur as Arsenal began their pre-season preparations, Wenger told Sky Sports News: "Cesc loves the club and hopefully we will manage. We know that this story for Barcelona has gone on for years now, we have to close that and focus on the season, hopefully with Cesc Fabregas."

Asked about Nasri, Wenger added: "Will he be at the club next season? I say yes. The second part [of the question] - will he sign a new contract? I hope yes, but I am not the only one to decide."