Chelsea's Ghana international midfielder Michael Essien has joined AC Milan, the Italian Serie A side announced on Friday. "Michael Essien will arrive in Milan this evening," AC Milan said in a statement, praising the "high level curriculum" of the player.
Essien, 31, arrives on a free transfer having signed an 18-month deal with the northern outfit placed 11th in Serie A, the Italian press reported.
Essien is the first recruit of new Milan coach Clarence Seedorf, and he could play in their Champions League last 16 tie against Atletico Madrid next month with two Milan midfielders suspended for the match -- Riccardo Montolivo and fellow Ghana international Sulley Muntari.
Essien started his career with Corsican side Bastia (2000-2003), making his name at French club Lyon (2003-2005) before joining Chelsea (2005-2012).
He teamed up again with Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid (2012-2013) and headed back to England with the Portuguese coach to Chelsea this season, but has failed to feature for the English side.
"Chelsea Football Club and AC Milan have reached an agreement for the transfer of Michael Essien to the Serie A side," said a Chelsea statement late Friday.
"Essien has travelled to Italy and the completion of the move is subject to him agreeing personal terms with Milan and passing a medical examination."
Before confirmation of the move, Mourinho had said Essien would be allowed to leave. "Michael Essien is, in this moment, in a position where he can go or he can stay. If he stays we're more than happy he stays.
"But he's another player who gave everything to this club and, if a great situation for him arrives, for his future or to give him a chance to go to the World Cup with more years of contract and a career at the high level, the same way Chelsea let him go to Madrid when I was there."
Earlier Friday, Chelsea also announced that they had agreed to sell Spanish midfielder Juan Mata to Manchester United for a fee reported to be Â£37 million.