Essien's last season at the club was largely disappointing, a nasty cruciate ligament injury ruled him out for most of the season, and by the time he was back, things were looking pretty down. It ended up being a bit hard to cement a place during the last days of AVB's tottering tenure and after Robbie took over, Essien found himself stuck as a back-up, scraping together 15-16 odd appearances.
Anyway, the Madrid loan ended up being a breath of fresh air, as under Jose, he found playing time a little easier to come by, with 35 appearances featuring a fair few starts. What's more, plenty of them ended up being at fullback, so we know he's capable of doing a job there in a pinch. (He's done it before for us, you know!)
Anyway, he'd been talking to the Evening Standard recently,
When Mourinho wants me to do a job for him, I will do it.
I have got my energy back and I feel I can do a job for the team again. It was important for me to play a lot of games and prove my fitness. Now I have, I am happy to play wherever is best for the team.
Essien did a pretty serviceable, if not particularly flashy job in Spain and I'd like to think the experience there has set him on track to make a good case for a spot in the side here. He may not be an assured starter by any stretch of the imagination, but by all means, he should make a fine bench option. Plus, having a healthy, niggle-free Ess can never be great news for league opposition.
Mourinho didn't just stroll in with his hands in his pockets. He also brought a determined Bison back with him. Good to know.