Belfast Telegraph

Michael Essien close to making Chelsea exit

By Steve O'Neill

Michael Essien could leave Chelsea in the transfer window, according to his agent.

The Ghana midfielder spent last season on loan with Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid, but has managed just three Barclays Premier League appearances this term.

Essien joined Chelsea from Lyon in 2005, moving on to claim two Premier League titles, four FA Cups and the Champions League.

The 31-year-old has been omitted from Chelsea's Champions League squad so far this season.

Agent Fabian Piveteau believes that could help pave the way for a move to another big European club during the January window.

"He could leave Chelsea this winter," Piveteau said.

"Several major European clubs playing in the Champions League were informed and the situation should settle down within the next 10 days.

"You should know that Michael was not on the list of players who can play in the Champions League with Chelsea, so he is free to play in the competition with another club."

Piveteau rejected a return to Essien's first club Bastia out of hand, admitting that the 52-cap midfielder will only seek to move to a club of similar standing.

He said: "In Ligue 1 he could play only at Paris Saint Germain or Lyon, but Bastia, FC Sochaux, for them to support the salary of a Chelsea player, it is already impossible."

Meanwhile, Blues striker Patrick Bamford could be swapping MK Dons for Derby as he builds experience through loan deals meanwhile.

The 20-year-old has fired 16 goals for the Dons this season, and could now be set to swap Sky Bet League One for the Championship.

Manager Steve McClaren admitted England under-21 star Bamford fits the profile of loan targets for the club.

"We are having a little look around," he said.

"I am pleased with the team, pleased with the squad but maybe it has not got that depth."

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