June 02, 2008

José Mourinho is set to be unveiled as Internazionale's new coach Monday, and his first order of business will be to capture Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien.

The former Blues boss has been granted a gigantic transfer chest of around $200 million by Inter president Massimo Moratti, according to reports from Italy.

The Special One is expected to raid Stamford Bridge during the summer, with attackers Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard heavily rumored to be on the verge of switching to San Siro.

But The Sun claims Mourinho has made Essien his top target and will match the $48 million he paid to the Ghanaian from Olympique Lyonnais three years ago.

The 25-year-old is recognized among the best box-to-box players in the world, earning comparisons with Dutch great Edgar Davids for his mix of tenacity and technique.

Essien moving to Milan would set up a tantalizing pairing with Argentine international Esteban Cambiasso in the cenete of the Nerazzurri midfield, while raising question marks over the futures of Patrick Vieira and Olivier Dacourt.

But Chelsea will be keen to keep one of its most consistent performers, as it attempts to quell a possible mass exodus from west London, which has been on the cards since Mourinho's departure in September.

The Portuguese was hugely popular with the players during his time at Stamford Bridge, the likes of Drogba and Lampard remaining loyal to the former Porto boss even after he parted ways with the club following a drawn-out dispute with owner Roman Abramovich.

Many have speculated that it is only of where the Chelsea stars follow Mourinho, not if, and the blue half of Milan seems certain to be the destination now following the sacking of Roberto Mancini.

Inter winger Luis Figo confirmed: "Already everyone knows of Mourinho's arrival to Inter, and even the club has informed me of the news."

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