Chelsea moved a step closer to smashing the British transfer record when AC Milan gave Andriy Shevchenko permission to talk to the Blues
Shevchenko scored 19 goals in Serie A last season
The 29-year-old Ukraine international will now visit Stamford Bridge to discuss terms on a proposed £34m move.
A statement on Chelsea's website said: "We can confirm he has been given permission to travel to London."
Shevchenko is expected to undergo a medical later on Wednesday but Chelsea stressed: "No deal has been done yet."
The Ukraine striker had earlier told Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani: "I'm leaving for family reasons."
Shevchenko has an American wife and it is understood that they want their son Jordan to learn English.
The striker added: "It wasn't a problem of relations and there is no economic problem."
Galliani said: "This is certainly the most painful divorce since I have been at Milan. We will begin negotiations with Chelsea and it will not be easy."
TOP FIVE ALL-TIME TRANSFERS
Zinedine Zidane; Juventus - Real Madrid £44m
Luis Figo; Barcelona - Real Madrid £37m
Hernan Crespo; Parma - Lazio £35.5m
Gianluigi Buffon; Parma - Juventus £32.6m
Christian Vieri; Lazio - Inter £31m
Galliani, who is in charge of the day-to-day operations at Milan, added: "It's a victory of the English language over the Italian language.
"I've tried to convince him to stay - even one minute prior to the press conference."
Milan offered Shevchenko a contract extension until 2011.
"My wish is that the club can evaluate my transfer," added the Ukraine international.
"Of course I am saddened because I have seen the looks on the faces of the fans and because of the many messages I have received."
TOP FIVE BRITISH TRANSFERS
Rio Ferdinand; Leeds - Man Utd £30m
Juan Sebastian Veron; Lazio - Man Utd £28m
Michael Essien; Lyon - Chelsea £24.5m
Didier Drogba; Marseille - Chelsea £24m
Shaun Wright-Phillips; Man City - Chelsea £21m
Shevchenko's wife, Kristen Pazak, is understood to be friends with the partner of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.
"My wife has nothing to do with this," said the striker. "We decided together for the best interests of our family.
"I don't speak English, my wife does not speak Ukrainian - the only language we have in common at the moment is Italian.
"The only way to be able to teach our children our love that we have for them is the English language."
Shevchenko joined Milan from Dynamo Kiev in 1999 and is the second highest scorer in the club's behind Gunnar Nordahl with 173 goals.
He scored 19 goals in 28 Serie A matches this season and also netted nine goals in the Champions League.
Shevchenko will captain Ukraine at the World Cup finals in Germany this summer.