Chelsea star Michael Essien in 'serious negotiations' with Al Ain

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PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - AUGUST 29: Michael Essien of Chelsea FC attends a training session ahead of their UEFA Super Cup final match against FC Bayern Muenchen at Stadion Eden on August 29, 2013 in Prague, Czech Republic. (Photo by Michal Sula/isifa/Getty Images)

Michael Essien could be the latest big-name footballer to head for the Middle East amid reports UAE champions Al Ain are in "serious negotiations" for the Chelsea midfielder.

Essien's agent Fabian Piveteau conceded this past week that the 31-year-old could leave Stamford Bridge during the transfer window and that the situation would become clearer within "the next 10 days.”

Essien started Chelsea's FA Cup win over Derby on Sunday, but having made just eight appearances in all competitions this season, is on the lookout for a new club to safeguard his World Cup place with Ghana.

Several European clubs have been linked with the midfield powerhouse in recent weeks, but a move to the Gulf appears to be a viable option with the player himself understood to be open to such a prospect.

Indeed, according to the 24.ae website, Essien has already began talks with Al Ain, who will hope the presence of his compatriot, Asamoah Gyan, can help convince him that his future lies in the Garden City.

A club spokesman declined to comment when quizzed on the matter by Abu Dhabi newspaper, The National, on Sunday.

Al Ain's apparent interest in Essien comes at a time when the club, who have endured a miserable campaign to date, are reportedly seeking to offload midfielder Mirel Radoi.

The Boss, managed by former Atletico Madrid coach Quique Sanchez Flores, are languishing in seventh place in the Arabian Gulf League, 11 points behind leaders Al Ahli.

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