Michael Essien is close to completing a move to AC Milan, despite a late attempt from West Ham to hijack the deal, according to the Daily Mail.
The Ghana international is keen on a move abroad and held lengthy talks with the Italian giants on Thursday over personal terms.
The 31-year-old was also a target for West Ham, with Sam Allardyce continuing the search for midfield targets.
The Chelsea man has managed just five Premier League appearances this season under Jose Mourinho.
It was always the case Essien would be allowed to move on during this transfer window, and Milan is understood to be his preferred choice.
The Ghanian’s agent has been talking with Milan representatives over a deal that will enhance his prospects of playing a key role for his country at this summer’s World Cup in Brazil – something Mourinho had previously spoken about.
‘I offer nobody – not Michael, not nobody (guaranteed playing time),’ Mourinho had said earlier this month.
‘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.’
Essien has only completed 90 minutes on one occasion this season – the 2-1 win over Crystal Palace in December.
He was omitted from Chelsea’s Champions League squad, and his agent claimed they were looking for a club that would give Essien another chance to play in that competition.