Essex are in discussions with Harbhajan Singh over a deal that could see the India spinner feature for the county in the latter part of the season.
The deal, which has not yet been completed, would see the 31-year-old play County Championship Division Two games only, BBC Essex has learned.
Harbhajan has 407 wickets for his country but is currently out of favour with selectors.
He has experience of playing in England with Surrey.
He collected 57 wickets across two spells in 2005 and 2007 at the Oval.
Essex have had little luck in their overseas player recruitment this season.
Australia seamer Peter Siddle was set to join the Chelmsford club until injury ruled him out, while a deal fell through for Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan.
South Africa batsman Alviro Petersen struggled to make an impact during his short stint at Essex, averaging just 21.36 from seven matches.