Former Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien may soon become the first Ghanaian owner of a European club after holding talks with the managers of Irish club Limerick FC over a possible sale.

A report in the Limerick Life newspaper claims prolonged negotiations between Essien and the club began during the summer.

The newspaper reported that a 40 percent stake in the newly promoted side has also been offered to a Wexford businessman, with a smaller stake on the table for Essien after a series of discussions in London and Limerick.

The article added that Essien’s wife Akosua Puni, who runs a foundation for underprivileged children, has been hugely impressed by largely unseen work that Limerick FC does in educating poor children in the Treaty City.

However, the chairman of Irish club Limerick FC Pat O’Sullivan has denied holding talks with the ex-Chelsea star about taking a stake at the newly promoted Premier Division club.

O’Sullivan, who has pumped a substantial amount of his own money into Limerick, welcomed Essien to the Markets Field for a game with Shelbourne last summer.

The Ghanaian midfielder later posted pictures from his Limerick visit on his Twitter account, thanking O’Sullivan and the fans for their welcome.

It’s believed he also visited Limerick FC’s soccer academy in Bruff, with a view to using the former convent boarding school and adjoining sports fields for a sports education programme helping teenagers from disadvantaged communities.

O’Sullivan has denied offering to sell the club to anyone, stating: “If I am, there will be a (public) announcement made about it.

“Michael Essien visited (Limerick) for a game while he was here on a private visit. He was in Limerick and I believe he asked to come to a game, and, just like anyone else, he was facilitated.”