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Baba Rahman and Christian Atsu are no Michael Essien



Sports News of Friday, 1 January 2016

Source: Yeboah, Kenneth Nii

The purpose of this articles is not to compare these young players to Michael Essien with regards to their talents. I am just writing as a concerned Ghanaian who is worried about what will happen to our young talents who are the future of our national team. The lack of game time for Baba Rahman is particularly worrying to me because he gave us a little hope to hang as a nation that has not found a permanent left back for our national team in over 10 years. I am particularly disturbed by the timing of Rahman’s move to Chelsea due to some historical antecedents.

The achievements Michael Essien chopped with Chelsea in his days at the club served as a motivation for many young Ghanaian players. Every young Ghanaian footballer that watched Essien play for Chelsea wanted nothing but to be in Essien’s position. With this passion burning in the heart of young footballer to be in his shoes, every young Ghanaian footballer will jump at the opportunity to sign for Chelsea even if the only experience they have in football is playing Division 1 football at Legon Ajax Park. For this reason, I don’t begrudge Christian Atsu and Baba Rahman for signing for Chelsea even when they were obviously not ready to be full partaker of the Chelsea party as far as experience was concerned.

Before Michael Essien’s move to Chelsea in 2005 he had announce his presence in Europe from 2003 with his move from Bastia where he played over 60 games from 2000 till he left for Lyon in 2003. With his arrival at Olympique Lyon, Essien won back to back league titles with Lyon. In 2005, before Essien was transferred to Chelsea, he was the best player in the French league and had scored 5 goals in the UEFA Champions league in the 2004-2005 season, he had also placed 22nd in the 2005 FIFA World Player of the Year.

Obviously, before Essien came to Chelsea, he had seen all there was to be seen in European, his ability to play under pressure had been established and the experience had prepared him both physically and mentally for the pressure at one of the big Clubs in Europe in recent times.

Can same be said about Christian Atsu and Baba Rahman is terms of experience and readiness for a big club like Chelsea? In terms of experience and mental fortitude to face that pressures that will be brought to bear on them at such a club, were they ready?

Atsu and Baba are great talents but Chelsea is not a club where talents are nurtured. Chelsea doesn’t have room or have not created room for such experiments over the years. Josh McEachran who now plays in the Championship for Brentford at age 21 is a typical example of the fact, that with all the ready cash from Chelsea’s bank roller to buy players for instant results, there is no room and time at all for nurturing young talents in Chelsea’s first team. The examples are countless, you can talk of the likes of Gael Kakuta, Jimmy Smith, Tom Taiwo, Michael Woods, Lenny Pidgeley and the list can continue till this page ends.

With over $20million on the head of Baba Rahman now, I don’t think Chelsea will let him go on loan this season just like other young players at the Bridge, this means that Baba is going to warm the bench for a better half of the season if nothing special happens.

As for Christian Atsu, my candid advice for him is to seek a permanent transfer from Chelsea if he really wants to play serious football in Europe. This should also serve as a lesson to all young Ghanaian footballers who would like to jump at juicy contracts without considering the experience they have under their belt and what future they want for themselves.

As for player managers and agents, they are no charity organizations, they are business people and they want to make the biggest monetary profit as at when it comes, therefore young players should think and rethink when they present them with these mouthwatering contracts that may eventually curtail the smooth progress of their development.

Kenneth Nii Yeboah

[email protected]


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