Chelsea midfielders Michael Essien and Kevin De Bruyne are edging closer to January moves away from Stamford Bridge.

With a host of Bundesliga clubs already hoping to secure a deal for the Belgian international, De Bruyne has now attracted interest from Spain with both Atletico Madrid and Malaga keen to take him on loan, Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad report.

31-year-old Essien is also poised to bring an end to an injury plagued spell in west London, with his agent indicating the midfielder could sign for a club competing in the knock out stages of the Champions League.

Once regarded as one of the best midfielders in European football, the last five years of the Ghanaian's career have been curtailed by injury and as a result has started just two Premier League games for the Blues this season.

But his representative Fabien Piveteau has stressed his client's eligibility for the knock out stages of Europe's premier competition will make him an attractive proposition for many clubs, but did rule out a return to France.

"In France, he could only in Paris... Lyon... but Bastia, Sochaux, without disrespecting them, no. It's impossible for them to take on a Chelsea player's salary," he told RMC.

He continued: "It is true that he could leave Chelsea this winter. 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."

De Bruyne, who has not made a Premier League appearance for Chelsea since the end of September, has been intensely linked with moves to Wolfsburg, Bayer Leverkusen and Werder Bremen, but could also be tempted by high flying Atletico Madrid, who sit second in La Liga, separated only by goal difference by leaders Barcelona.