Chelsea have asked Ghana to allow midfielder Michael Essien to commute between Egypt and England in a private jet during the African Nations Cup next month.
Essien could miss up to six matches for Chelsea if Ghana reach the final on February 10 but their hopes of getting Essien to and from Egypt during the tournament appear to have been dashed by international coach Ratomir Dujkovic.
Dujkovic believes such a move would leave the player exhausted and he is determined Essien will link up with the rest of the squad as soon as the international regulations allow him to do so.
“Chelsea suggested Essien could commute during the tournament using their private jet,” said Dujkovic.
“Another option is to allow him to stay with them a little bit longer before the tournament starts.”
Under FIFA rules, Ghana could ask the midfielder to join them on January 7, but the Serbian coach is hopeful the two parties can reach a compromise and he is to discuss the matter with the board of the Ghana FA next week.
“We can decide to ban him if he refuses to turn up but this not the right thing to do,” he said.
“I believe we can reach an agreement which will satisfy both sides.
“I expressed my wishes of getting Essien from the beginning of my training programme for the tournament in Egypt,” said Dujkovic.
“It is very difficult for Chelsea because Essien won’t be available to them for several matches if he plays at the Nations Cup.
“I understand their problem as Essien is important to them but he is also very important to Ghana.
“Essien is confused because he likes playing for Ghana but he is worried about losing his place in the Chelsea first team.”
Meanwhile, Chelsea striker Eidur Gudjohnsen has set his sights on staying at the club long enough to reach a century of goals in their colours.
The Icelandic ace has hit more than 60 of them so far since joining the Blues from Bolton in 2001 and although he is often utilised in a midfield role by current Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho, Gudjohnsen is determined to reach his goal.
The 27-year-old has been forced to switch to a midfield role because of the form of Didier Drogba and Hernan Crespo this season and so far Gudjohnsen has managed to hit the target just once.
His solitary strike arrived during the 5-1 demolition of Bolton back in October and despite his glut of goals for the club in previous seasons, Gudjohnsen now admits he has never really thought of himself as a natural goalscorer.
“To get 100 goals for Chelsea would be fantastic,” declared Gudjohnsen.
“It’s hard to tell at the moment if I’ll reach it, I’m still a few away and you never know in football what might happen, but that woul definitely be a massive target.
“My first goal of the season against Bolton meant a lot to me and hopefully there’s lots more to come. As long as I’m on the pitch I’m happy but I do think midfield suits me.
“I’ve never really considered myself a natural goalscorer. Sam Allardyce and Claudio Ranieri both used to say that I didn’t score enough easy goals and I think a lot of people regard me as a scorer of great goals rather than a great goalscorer.
“It is something that I can still improve on in my game – scoring more simple goals.”
Gudjohnsen did not enhance his striking reputation during their Champions League defeat to Real Betis in Seville when he was hauled off at half-time by Mourinho.
But the Icelandic international has tried not to let the setback affect his confidence and will be looking for more goals if he is given a place in Mourinho’s starting line-up against Fulham on St Stephen's Day.
“It would have been nice to put the ball in the back of the net but it’s just unfortunate we put in such a poor performance on the day (against Betis),” he said.
“As the striker starting for the first time this season you think maybe it’s your fault but all you can do is keep your head up.
“The manager wanted to change it at half-time and I was the one he decided to take off.
“When the chance comes again you’ve got to prove yourself every time, that’s the way it is here with a big squad.
“I try not to dwell on those things because it can affect your confidence and that’s a big part of football.
“If you lose that then it can be a big problem and then it becomes even more difficult to score goals.
“For a striker it’s all about confidence and that comes from the manager and whether you feel the manager believes in you. At the moment there’s no doubt that’s the case.”