Chelsea have agreed a deal to release their legendary Ghanaian midfielder Michael Essien to Italian giants AC Milan after NINE YEARS at the English club.
The 31-year-old, who arrived in Italy on Friday night as exclusively revealed by GHANAsoccernet.com, will undergo a medical on Saturday before the deal is sealed.
He will sign a contract for 18 months if he is successful in the medical and agrees personal terms with AC Milan.
"Agreement reached with AC Milan for the transfer of Michael Essien, subject to a medical examination and him agreeing personal terms," Chelsea said in a statement on their Twitter page.
Essien has been a part of Chelsea since coming over from Lyon in 2005 but the midfielder has fallen out of favour with his club and was unable to get onto the pitch which forced him to seek the move to Italy.
After spending the 2012-13 season with Real Madrid, he returned to Chelsea this year but only made two Premier League starts all season.
Manager Jose Mourinho explained that he had no intention to change this any time soon, via John Drayton of the Daily Mail:
I offer nobody - not Michael, not nobody (guaranteed playing time). I understand that players think about national team, the World Cup and playing regularly, but my players have to think of the team before the players. Michael knows that perfectly.
AC Milan now get an experienced player who can help out immediately on the defensive end, an area that needs a dramatic improvement.
The club currently sits in 11th place in the Serie A table despite ranking eighth in the league in goals scored.
The Italians have struggled to prevent opposing opportunities, and it leads to a high number of goals against. Essien has proven to be a quality tackler in the defensive midfield and someone who is almost always in the right position to mark a man.
Additionally, the veteran has been utilized as a defender at times in the past and could provide depth if needed. This versatility is certain to help out the historic club as it looks to get back near the top of the league standings.
This is a great opportunity for everyone involved as Essien gets an opportunity to play for the first team, AC Milan get a quality player and Chelsea removes dead weight on the roster that was not getting onto the pitch anyway.
With Essien also trying to prepare for the World Cup as part of the Ghana national team, this is a win for all parties.
Michael Essien made 250 appearances for Chelsea, scoring 25 goals. He won the Premier League twice, FA Cup 4 times & UCL once for the club.
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 24, 2014