Football

Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien close to AC Milan switch

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AC Milan are on the verge of completing the signing of midfielder Michael Essien from Chelsea.

In a short statement on the Italian giants' website, it was confirmed that the Ghanian international was expected in Milan today to finalise his switch to Serie A.

As yet, it remains unclear as to whether the move is permanent or a loan switch until the end of the season.

Essien has been with Chelsea since 2005, and has won two Premier League titles and the Champions League with the club.

However his influence at Stamford Bridge has waned in recent years and he spent last season on loan with Real Madrid under Jose Mourinho, before following the 'Special One' back to Chelsea in the summer.

The 31-year-old has made just five Premier League appearances for Chelsea this season, and is looking for regular football ahead of the World Cup in Brazil this summer.

Speaking earlier today, Mourinho confirmed that Essien's future was up in the air - but said that wherever he ends up, he'll always have a place in the hearts of Chelsea fans.

"Michael Essien is at this moment in a position where he could go or stay," he told reporters ahead of his side's FA Cup 4th round clash against Stoke on Sunday.

"If he stays we are more than happy as he's a fantastic club man and team player, but he's another one who's given everything for the club and if a great situation arrives for his future, related to competition, going to the World Cup and playing at a high level for another few years, he's another one that we feel we must show respect to.

"To show him respect is to not stop him going, but if he stays he's playing against Stoke at the weekend."

Mourinho also confirmed today that Juan Mata is on the verge of signing for Manchester United - although that deal has been held up while Chelsea complete the signing of Basel forward Mohamed Salah.

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Topics:
Premier League
Chelsea
Michael Essien
Football

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