Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka has expressed his desire to sign Ghana midfielder Michael Essien if offered by Chelsea.
Karanka, a former Real Madrid assistant coach, worked with Essien at the Santiago Bernabeu last season.
Essien, who is down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge, is in search of regular football, to remain fully fit for the 2014 World Cup.
â€œJose and I are friends, so always since I have arrived here it has been talked about. I said to him 'listen, can I take Michael Essien'. Maybe not, but me and the club are working to take players,â€ he revealed.
â€œThese Chelsea loans, it can become hard and I heard last week that Michael Essien might be coming - I'm going to drive to London to pick him up!,â€ he joked.
Middlesbrough are 15thÂ on the Championship table.