Chelsea legend Michael Essien says he would have “loved” to play alongside his countryman Thomas Teye Partey.
Partey has established himself as one of the top African players in European football since breaking into Atletico Madrid’s first-team back in 2015.
The 26-year-old has been one of Europe’s stand-out box-to-box midfielders and his superlative performances in La Liga has caught the eyes of Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, who has identified the Ghanaian midfielder as his top target in midfield.
And Essien, who played for Real Madrid for one season in the 2012/13 season, has not been surprised by the interest in Partey and has spoken of his admiration for his compatriot during an Instagram Live interview.
“Thomas [Partey] is such a good player. I’d have loved to play with him,” Essien said, quoted by Goal.
“He is a young and talented player making waves in Europe. He is one player I’d liked to play alongside but it will never happen. It is their time at the Black Stars now so we have to support them and hopefully they can take it from where we left off.”
Partey has made 24 La Liga appearances and 35 appearances across all competitions so far this season prior to the Covid-19 suspension.
According to Whoscored, he averaged 2.1 tackles and 1.4 interceptions per game.
Partey was instrumental in Atletico Madrid’s Champions League knockout triumph over defending champions Liverpool as Diego Simeone’s side triumphed 4-2 on aggregate.
Essien spent nine years at Stamford Bridge and racked up 168 Premier League appearances while winning two titles, four FA Cups and the Champions League.
The former AC Milan midfielder is now with Azerbaijani club Sabail both as a player and managing their U-19s.