The Italians have turned their attention to Essien.
After failing in a bid to sign John Obi Mikel from Chelsea, Napoli have now decided to try and sign Michael Essien from Stamford Bridge instead, according to the Sun.
Having been in charge of the Blues last season Rafael Benitez knows the players at the club well and sent representatives to try and secure Mikel.
However, manager Jose Mourinho sees the Nigeria international as an important part of the squad at the Bridge, despite having signed another defensive midfielder in Nemanja Matic for £20.8m on Wednesday.
As a result Benitez has now turned the attention onto Essien – a player who was not in west London when the Spaniard was as the 31-year-old was on-loan at Real Madrid last term.
The Ghana international has struggled for form and game time since returning to England and has managed just nine appearances in all competitions this campaign.
Now Matic has rejoined the club things are set to become even tougher for Essien and there is every chance Napoli could secure the midfield ace.
AC Milan are also interested in the African, but with the seven-time European champions struggling in Serie A of late, a switch to Naples may well be more appealing.
Essien is desperate for game time before the World Cup so as to ensure the Ghanaian gets a spot in the national team at the tournament in Brazil.
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