Essien hails Mourinho relationship after completing loan move from Chelsea to Real Madrid

Michael Essien has credited his season long loan move from Chelsea to Real Madrid to his special relationship with Jose Mourinho.

The pair originally worked together in London when the Portuguese trainer brought Essien to Stamford Bridge from Lyon in 2005 and the midfielder is now relishing the opportunity to work under his former mentor again.

“Everything happened so fast,” reflected the 29-year-old at a press conference. “Mourinho called me and said he was ready to take me. I said yes immediately.”

“That was more than enough for me to come here. I see him as a father because he was the one responsible for my move to Chelsea. We have a very good relationship, with a clear understanding of each other.”

Essien has enjoyed several injury-laden campaigns at Stamford Bridge in recent years, struggling to only 14 appearances last season, something he is keen to change.

“I have had some fitness problems in the past, but I’m strong. If I wasn’t ready to play here in the first place, I wouldn’t have signed on.

“Real Madrid have very, very good players, but I’m ready to feature anywhere Mourinho asks me to. It’ll be a great feeling to win titles this way,” Essien concluded.

Essien will be an important player for Real Madrid, says Karanka

Aitor Karanka - Real Madrid

Aitor Karanka – Real Madrid

Real Madrid assistant coach Aitor Karanka has praised recent acquisition Michael Essien, while also commenting on the situations of some of the side’s lesser-used players.

The Ghanaian midfielder arrived at the Santiago Bernabeu on the last day of the transfer window, moving to the capital outfit on a season-long loan from Chelsea.

The agreement reunites Essien with former boss Jose Mourinho, under whom he played when the Portuguese was in charge of the Blues.

“Essien is a friend of Mourinho’s,” the Spaniard said at a press conference ahead of the Blancos‘ Liga clash with Granada.

“[He] is a player who has the confidence of the coaching staff. He will be an important signing.”

The Vitoria native went on to discuss the situations of peripheral names such as Kaka and Ricardo Carvalho, who remain on Madrid’s books despite being linked with exits throughout the summer.

“[Jose Mourinho] made it clear at different points in the summer. Most importantly, if Kaka was on the team, he would be one of the players we’d support,” he added.

“Carvalho’s case is different. Eventually we will see what decision is made, respecting the player’s wishes and the circumstances.”

'They can score seven goals in 15 minutes' – Granada boss Anquela wary of Real Madrid threat

Juan Anquela has admitted Real Madrid boast unparalleled effeciency in all areas, as he prepares to take his Granada side to the Santiago Bernabeu.

El Grana will face the recently-crowned Supercopa holders on Monday, who despite claiming the trophy have yet to win a fixture in La Liga this season.

Their coach is making no optimistic assumptions however, and took the time to laud Los Merengues at a press conference on Saturday.

“Madrid are good at everything, they are very quick, very powerful. In two touches, they have a goal. They are able to score seven goals in 15 minutes because they are good at everything,” said Anquilla.

“When the machine starts up, it is hard to stop.”

The Linares native is not ruling out an upset however, stating his players are excited prior to their clash with the reigning Spanish champions.

“We come with all the enthusiasm and desire in the world. They are the best team, along with Barcelona, in the world.”

Gerrard: Manchester United, Chelsea and Real Madrid all wanted me

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has claimed that Manchester United, Chelsea and Real Madrid have all attempted to secure his signature.

Gerrard said he has always been committed to the Anfield club and insists he never had any intention of quitting his home-town team.

However many people, including former England manager Sven Goran-Eriksson, have suggested Gerrard must leave Liverpool if he wants to add that ever elusive Premier League winner’s medal to his collection.

Jose Mourinho came as close as anyone to securing Gerrard’s services. He first approached the England captain during his time at Chelsea but Gerrard also revealed the ‘Special One’ expressed an interest in him after taking over at Real Madrid.

He told the Daily Mail: “This club [Liverpool] weren’t really challenging at the time, so there was something to think about. But I ended up saying no [to Mourinho in 2004] and a year later I said no again.

“But he came back when he arrived at Real Madrid two years ago. I look at some players who get interest from clubs like Real Madrid and Barcelona and they cause absolute wars to get out and get there. But that has never been me and, again, it just wasn’t going to happen. I was happy here. I was settled. I thought all that had gone really.”

Sir Alex Ferguson once described the 32-year-old as the most influential player in the Premier League and Gerrard says the Scot was also keen on taking him to Old Trafford.

While admitting he was flattered by Sir Alex’s interest, Gerrard never even contemplated joining Liverpool’s fiercest rivals.

“It was flattering back then because the two best managers around wanted me to play in their teams,” he continued.

“Gary Neville said he [Sir Alex] wanted me. But you understand that playing for Manchester United would have been impossible. I never would have wanted to play for Manchester United. They are a fantastic club but that rivalry is there, and it’s why Gary could not have played for us either.

“Don’t get me wrong. It was flattering that, after everything he has done in the game, Sir Alex Ferguson wanted me to play in his team. But that was an impossible situation.”

Premier League clubs dominate summer spending as most of Europe cuts back

Premier League clubs spent a massive £490 million (€618m) in the summer transfer window, an increase of £4m (€6.3m) from the same period last year, according to analysis by business advisory firm Deloitte.

A frenetic final day of transfer activity saw a number of big-money deals completed before the window closed, with Manchester City signing Javi Garcia for £18m (€22.7m), Fulham bringing in Dimitar Berbatov and Tottenham snapping up both Hugo Lloris and Clint Dempsey.

While this summer’s spending did not reach the record of £500m (€630.8m) spent in 2008, it came very close, with the newly-promoted clubs also not afraid to heavily invest, as evidenced by Southampton smashing their club record with the £11m (€15m) capture of Gaston Ramirez from Bologna.

The analysis also revealed that Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal have all exceeded £30m (€37.8m) in gross transfer spending, while a busy final day saw Premier League clubs conclude deals totalling around £110m (€138.8m), approximately £9m (€12.6m) more than the equivalent deadline day figure for summer 2011.

Overseas, Spanish clubs kept relatively quiet, with Real Madrid making one big signing in Luka Modric, while Barcelona spent €14m on Jordi Alba, and another €19m (£15m) on Alex Song.

The chasing pack, meanwhile, spent relatively modest sums; Valencia’s spending was dictated by how much they received, while Atletico Madrid were more focused on keeping hold of Radamel Falcao.

Malaga, experiencing financial troubles, took Roque Santa Cruz on loan and let go of Santi Cazorla and Salomon Rondon.

The rest of La Liga barely spent any money whatsoever, as has become the norm in recent seasons.

Juventus were the biggest spenders in Serie A as they secured the services of players such as Mauricio Isla, Kwadwo Asamoah and Sebastian Giovinco, while Inter did not hesitate to spend big on Alvaro Pereira, Samir Handanovic and Rodrigo Palacio.

AC Milan were pillaged by mainland Europe’s biggest spenders, while Fiorentina made some impressive purchases, largely financed by the late sale of Matija Nastasic to Manchester City.

On the whole, it is estimated -not by Deloitte, however – that the 20 clubs earned more money than they spent transfer-wise.

Elsewhere, Bayern Munich paid a record fee of €40m to lure Javi Martinez away from Athletic Bilbao, while champions Borussia Dortmund splashed the money they received from Manchester United for Shinji Kagawa on Marco Reus.

Hamburg splashed out on Rafael van der Vaart to boost their spending, but it was a similiar story for the rest of the Bundesliga.

The remaining 15 clubs spent no more than an estimated €7m net on transfers, with the biggest spenders, Bayer Leverkusen (around €5.6m net) and Borussia Monchengladbach (around €6.5m net), benefiting from Champions League income.

However, the unrivalled champions when it comes to spending in mainland Europe are Ligue 1 powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain.

Les Parisiens parted with over €100m in order to sign Ezequiel Lavezzi, Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side apart, however, French spending was extremely low; Lille, Olympique de Marseille and Olympique Lyonnais all posted estimated transfer-related profits of at least €10m, while no club – PSG aside – had a higher net spend than €5m.