'Chelsea need Drogba to stay' - Essien
Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien is hopeful striker Didier Drogba will follow his lead and agree a new contract at Stamford Bridge.
Ghana international Essien agreed a five-year contract today ahead of Chelsea's opening pre-season match in China tomorrow, while Ivory Coast frontman Drogba remained in London to recover from a persistent knee injury.
The news of the decision to leave the 30-year-old at Chelsea's Cobham training base to continue his recuperation has increased speculation he will leave Stamford Bridge before the start of the new campaign.
'Hopefully things will work out for Didier because we need him to stay,' said Essien.
'If he can make up his mind it will be good for us. He knows what he wants so it is up to him.'
Essien, who arrived from Lyon in 2005, will remain at Stamford Bridge until 2013 and follows quickly in the footsteps of full-back Wayne Bridge and goalkeeper Petr Cech in agreeing new contracts with the London club.
He has so far made 143 appearances for the Blues, scoring on 14 occasions, while also winning the Premier League title in his first season.
'I am really pleased to sign a new contract with Chelsea,' added the 25-year-old. 'I came here to stay longer, I like the team and I love the fans and I think we have got a great squad. I did not consider any other options, I love playing for Chelsea.'
And having committed his future to the club shortly after arriving in China ahead of tomorrow's meeting with Chinese Super League side Guangzhou Pharmaceutical, Essien hopes the trip will be the start of a bright future for last season's Barclays Premier League and Champions League runners-up under new coach Luiz Felipe Scolari.
The former Portugal coach took over from Avram Grant following Euro 2008 and is already attempting to make his mark on the squad after speaking of building a new philosophy, and was seen taking an active part in training at Guangzhou's Olympic Stadium today.
'We have one of the best coaches in the world,' said Essien. 'He has a different way of working so hopefully things will work for us.'