Essien happy at Chelsea

Michael Essien’s agent insists his client will not be linking up with his former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho at Inter Milan, but AC Milan have made informal enquiries regarding Blues strikers Didier Drogba and Andriy Shevchenko.

Essien, Drogba, Frank Lampard and Ricardo Carvalho are all thought to be on Mourinho’s wish list.

However, Essien’s agent Fabien Piveteau confirmed: “Michael is very happy at Chelsea and that is where he will be playing next season. His current contract runs until 2012. There has been no approach from Inter.”

Meanwhile, AC Milan claim they have held informal talks with Chelsea over a possible double swoop for Shevchenko and Drogba.

Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani also claimed that Kaka’s name came up in conversation with Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon but he insisted the 2007 FIFA World Footballer of the Year is staying put.

His claims emerged on a day when AC Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti ruled himself out of the running for the vacant managerial position at Stamford Bridge and Chelsea were linked with a move for Roma boss Luciano Spalletti.

Ancelotti dismissed speculation linking him with a move to Chelsea as “fantasy football” but Galliani said: “Yesterday we had a chat with Mr Kenyon of Chelsea.

“We were talking about football things in general. We still have a very good rapport with Stamford Bridge.”

Galliani revealed a list of names, including Shevchenko, Drogba and Kaka, had been discussed, saying: “Sure we talked about all these things. But I can tell you for example that Kaka is absolutely not for sale. Just like Carlo Ancelotti, he will be here next season.”

Milan are desperate to sign a new striker and Galliani has previously indicated Drogba is high on Ancelotti’s wish list.

Drogba himself was open about wanting to leave Chelsea in the wake of Jose Mourinho’s departure last September but later regretted making his remarks public.

Shevchenko has failed to settle at Stamford Bridge since his move from Milan two years ago and he is expected to return.

The Ukrainian has strong ties with the club and in particular with Silvio Berlusconi, the former president who stepped down after being elected to his third term as prime minister and who is godfather to the striker’s son.

Ancelotti, meanwhile, has officially ruled out a move to Stamford Bridge claiming: “It is just fantasy football that happens every year. I will stay with AC Milan next season.”

Ancelotti and Chelsea both released statements on Tuesday denying reports the London club had made an approach for the double Champions League winner and agreed terms for him to take over.

He was strongly linked with the Stamford Bridge post amid suggestions his advisors had reached a settlement with the Blues over a move to England but the 48-year-old is under contract with Milan until 2010.

However, speculation over Chelsea’s new managerial target revolved around Spalletti while Blackburn boss Mark Hughes, who was never on Chelsea’s shortlist, agreed to join Manchester City.

Spalletti led Roma to second place in Serie A as well as the quarter-finals of the Champions League in each of the last two seasons.

However, the key to his possible arrival at Stamford Bridge as a replacement for sacked Avram Grant, could depend on former Chelsea favourite Gianfranco Zola being named as his number two.

Zola remains a hero among the Chelsea fans after a distinguished playing career with the club and his return as part of a managerial team would be welcomed by supporters.

Spalletti, 49, who speaks little English, was hoping to boost his squad with a sizeable transfer kitty this summer but that now looks increasingly unlikely because of the debts of the club’s parent company Italpetroli – thought to be in the region of £300m.

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