Chelsea are close to reaching a compromise with Ghana over the availability of midfielder Michael Essien next month.
The Barclays Premiership leaders are set to be without Essien and Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba for an unspecified time as the pair represent their countries in the African Nations Cup.
Blues boss Jose Mourinho has spoken to Essien’s national team boss Ratomir Dujkovic and Ghana’s sports minister Osei Bonsu Amoah and the latter has recommended that the Ghanaian football association should accept a deal whereby Essien would play in his country’s first two group games.
“It is a decision that has to be taken by the coaching staff and it may not be as easy as it seems,” said Amoah.
“But I will suggest that the Ghana FA take the decision since it would be appropriate.”
Under the deal Essien would miss Chelsea’s FA Cup third-round tie against Huddersfield and the Premiership games against Sunderland and Charlton.
He would be available for the Black Stars’ games against Nigeria and Senegal and would miss the final group clash with Zimbabwe. It is unclear whether he would return should Ghana reach the knockout stages of the event in Egypt.
The Premiership champions had requested that Essien commuted to and from host country Egypt in a private jet so he would not miss any Premiership games for the club.
But that suggestion was quickly rejected by Ghana who were concerned about the effects such a gruelling schedule would have on Essien’s fitness.