Michael Essien's agent has said his client will not return to France and is more likely to join a club playing in the Champions League this January.
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After moving from his native Ghana to Bastia in 2000, Essien made his name in Corsica and then further embellished that reputation in an all-conquering Lyon side before joining Chelsea in 2005.
Though the 31-year-old is widely expected to leave Stamford Bridge during the January transfer window, Essien's representative, Fabien Piveteau, ruled out a return journey across the Channel.
He was quoted as saying by RMC: "You've got to stop with all that. Michael plays for Chelsea, a big club, so there's no point in dreaming about him coming back to France.
"In France, he could only play in Paris, Lyon... but Bastia, Sochaux, without disrespecting them, no. It's impossible for them to take on a Chelsea player's salary."
With an eye to boosting his playing time ahead of next summer's World Cup, Essien should be seen again in European football's biggest club competition in 2014.
"It's true that he could leave Chelsea this winter," Piveteau said. "Several big European clubs playing in the Champions League have made enquiries and it should play out in the next 10 days or so. Michael wasn't included in Chelsea's list of players for European competition, so he's free to play in the Champions League with another club."
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho had taken Essien on loan to Real Madrid last season during his time in charge at the Bernabeu, but he has used the midfielder in just three Premier League games for the Blues this year.