Injured Real Madrid on-loan midfielder Michael Essien has returned to his English club Chelsea as he fights to regain fitness.
The presence of the Ghana international at Cobham has sparked hopes that new coach of the club Rafa Benitez could recall him following the sacking of Di Matteo.
The speculation over Essien’s likely return to Chelsea has heightened since it was revealed that Nigerian midfielder fJohn Obi Mikel could be the first victim of Rafa Benitez’s Chelsea reign.
But GHANAsoccernet.com insiders say Essien has been undergoing treatment at Cobham, Chelsea’s training ground, because of the medical expertise at the club.
The Ghanaian midfielder, on loan from Chelsea, has not played for Jose Mourinho’s side since the 2-1 La Liga win at Levante on November 11 and it is believed he may not be available for the remainder of 2012.
Essien may not be able to get on the pitch again for Real Madrid this year following an allergic reaction to medication since the injury and he is trying to find a quick solution.
However, speculation about Chelsea return grows with news that Mikel may be axed from the side for Wednesday’s match against Fulham at Stamford Bridge.
As Benitez aims to produce more opportunities for under pressure £50million striker Fernando Torres, Mikel could pay the price for his lack of creativity.
The Spaniard wants to reshape his side and believes that Mikel is too defensive in his position in front of the back four.
Mikel was missing from the key preparations for Chelsea’s derby with Fulham and could now be replaced by Oriel Romeu, who came on for him on Sunday.
The injury-prone Essien has been struggling with foot and other leg problems lately and it has been suggested that he has reacted poorly to medication he has taken to address those. He has also been on a specific training plan in order to gain full fitness.
Sami Khedira’s recovery from injury has prompted Madrid to rest Essien and he may even be sidelined until the New Year.