Chelsea full-back Abdul "Baba" Rahman has travelled to Germany to complete a medical ahead of his proposed second loan move to Schalke, with Die Konigsblauen sporting director Christian Heidel confirming that the deal is close to completion.
Rahman's initial season-long stint at the Veltins-Arena was curtailed prematurely in January 2017 by an anterior cruciate ligament injury suffered while on international duty with Ghana at the African Cup of Nations and talks are said to be ongoing regarding a longer-term return to Gelsenkirchen that is expected to last for 18 months.
Reports from Sky in Germany that the 23-year-old, who made 21 total appearances during his short-lived first stint, flew out to undergo medical checks on Thursday (25 January) were subsequently confirmed by Heidel, who indicated that an agreement was near but stressed it had yet to be finalised.
"We're on the home straight with Baba," he said at a press conference held before Saturday's Bundesliga trip to Stuttgart.
"He's due to undergo a medical here, but the deal is not complete yet. He got some minutes with the Chelsea reserves recently. We'll give him the time he needs, but the medical will reveal more."
Chelsea have already allowed one left-back to depart this week with versatile Brazilian Kenedy finally joining Newcastle United for the remainder of the campaign and the Mail state that the defending Premier League champions will include a recall option in Rahman's latest loan.
Such a move would presumably be made with the intention of ensuring that they are sufficiently covered in that area in the event that first-choice option Marcos Alonso suffers an injury. Roma's Emerson Palmieri, who is said to have agreed personal terms at Stamford Bridge as he awaits a £57.2m ($81.2m) double transfer also including striker Edin Dzeko to be sealed, has played just once in Serie A this term due to an ACL rupture of the left knee sustained on the final day of last season.
Everton and Inter Milan were also rumoured to have showed an interest in Rahman, who has featured only 23 times for Chelsea - 15 in the Premier League - since making the switch from Augsburg to west London for a £21.7m fee in August 2015.
He spent much of the first half of the current season rehabilitating following that serious injury setback and Antonio Conte admitted over the festive period that he was "struggling a bit to recover the best form".
Rahman's departure would be the fifth deal completed by Chelsea so far in January, with Ross Barkley arriving from Everton for £15m. Kenedy's move to Newcastle was preceded by the respective loan exits of youngsters Ike Ugbo and Jake Clarke-Salter, who joined MK Dons and Sunderland respectively.