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Victory fail to lure Essien to A-League

AAP logoAAP 22/09/2016 Warren Barnsley

Melbourne Victory has failed in its bid to sign Ghanaian international Michael Essien.

The former Chelsea star has knocked back an offer from the A-League club to join as a marquee player for the 2016-17 season despite him reportedly ending his contract with Greek club Panathinaikos this week.

"The club has been in constant discussions with Michael and his representatives but due to some personal issues Michael has unfortunately decided not to move to Melbourne," a Victory spokesperson told News Corp Australia.

The 33-year-old Ghana midfielder scored 17 goals in 168 matches for Chelsea, playing in their 2009-10 Premier League-winning season, but his time at Panathinaikos was hampered by injury.

The failure to sign Essien frees up cash from Football Federation Australia's $1million pot of funding to help A-League clubs sign big-name players, including star Melbourne City recruit Tim Cahill.

Had Essien signed, the well would have been almost dry, although his success in Australia could have prompted the FFA to increase the war-chest next season.

"(An increase would be) hard for season 12 but we're certainly going to look at it again for season 13," FFA chief executive David Gallop said earlier this week.

"It's obviously pleasing that we allocated an amount of money and we're getting to use it."

Essien's shun takes off some of the gloss from an otherwise successful A-League off-season for the FFA thanks to the high-profile signings of Tim Cahill, Brett Holman, James Troisi, Rhys Williams and Bernie Ibini.

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