Blues boss will allow stalwart to leave Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho says Michael Essien is free to leave the club this month.
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The Ghana midfielder has been linked with moves to Serie A outfits AC Milan and Napoli after making just five league appearances so far this season
Essien, 31, has not been registered in the club’s Champions League squad, making him an attractive for prospect for Milan, who are keen for midfield reinforcements ahead of next month’s knock-outs.
Mourinho, who signed Essien on loan for Real Madrid before bringing him back to Chelsea, confirmed a decision on Essien’s future lay with the player.
“Michael Essien is in this moment in a position where he can go or he can stay,” Mourinho is quoted as saying by The Guardian.
“If he stays we are more than happy for him to stay, but he’s another player that gave everything to this club and if a great situation for him arrives for his future … we must show him respect.
If Essien is still a Chelsea player, the manager said he would play in Sunday’s FA Cup fourth round tie with Stoke City.
“If he stays, he stays and if he stays he’s playing against Stoke.”
Essien is reportedly keen for first team football ahead of next summer’s World Cup in Brazil.
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