There have been rumors of AC Milan interest in Chelsea's Michael Essien for the past several weeks, but today his agent had some interesting quotes when asked about a potential switch. Fabian Piveteau denied that there has been any contact between himself and the Italian club, though he confirmed there has been interest from elsewhere and that the player is likely to leave:
"The player will leave Chelsea and I have had a lot of contact from different clubs, but Milan is not among them, or at least I did not have direct contact with the Rossoneri. I will have important talks this week, then I will fly to London to assess the club and the player with the best solution."
I doubt that too many Chelsea fans really care about whether or not Milan are among the potential destinations for Essien, as the first portion of this quote is far more relevant to the Blues. Piveteau is claiming that a move away from Chelsea will happen, something that makes far more sense now that Chelsea have signed Nemanja Matic.
If this happens, Essien's departure will free up another international roster spot for Chelsea's domestic squad. That would put us one below the maximum, meaning we could either sign another player over the age of 21, or simply name Henrique Hilario to the squad at the start of February.
This would also mean Marco van Ginkel could remain on the Champions League squad, and that Chelsea would still have an additional open international slot for that competition*. Again, good news for Henrique Hilario.
*Nemanja Matic is not eligible
Regardless of what this means to the club in the short term, I think most fans would be more than happy to see Essien move on at this point. The player has spent enough time off the pitch due to various knee injuries that most just want to see him playing, and if he's not going to get minutes at Chelsea anymore, it's best to see him playing somewhere where his talent can still be useful. Let's cross our fingers that he still gets one more run out at Stamford Bridge before that happens though, as he certainly deserves to hear the ovation he'll get from Chelsea's faithful.