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13.03.2007 Football News

Essien signs new Chelsea contract

By RTE Sports
Chelsea's versatile midfielder Michael Essien has agreed a new five-year contract with the London clubChelsea's versatile midfielder Michael Essien has agreed a new five-year contract with the London club

Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien has signed a new five-year contract that ties him to the Barclays Premiership champions until 2012.

The 24-year-old has been one of the stars of Chelsea's injury-ravaged season by playing in a number of positions including right-back and centre-half as well as his more orthodox midfield role.

The Ghanaian international is in his second season at Stamford Bridge and, along with top scorer Didier Drogba, is favourite to land the club's 'Player of the Year' award.

Coach Jose Mourinho has used the player for all but one game this season and Essien was delighted to commit his long-term future to the club.

Essien said: 'It didn't take me long to decide to sign. I am really happy because I came here to stay a long time. I really work hard in training and do everything to succeed. I have the ambition to win a lot of trophies for the club.'

Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon added: 'It is great to have somebody like Michael, who has already made a huge contribution, commit for another five years. We spent a summer getting him, it wasn't easy, and it is nice to be on the next step.

'He is recognised as one of the new gems to have joined the Premiership. He is a big star back in Ghana and is a key man in Chelsea as well. Michael is young but we have already seen this season how important and versatile he has become. He enjoys London and he is settled. I know he is delighted to have signed and we are delighted to have him.'

Chelsea are now hoping to tie England stars - captain John Terry and midfielder Frank Lampard - on similar long-term deals. Both players are in the midst of contract extension negotiations although talks over Terry's deal appear to have stalled.