Nigerian midfielder, John Obi Mikel, is all set to leave Chelsea in January to join the Chinese Super League. According to reports from TMW, Mikel has agreed a three-year contract with Tianjin Teda. He is ready to join the Chinese club, where he will earn around €8-9m per season.
Mikel, 29, has not played a single match this season under Antonio Conte, and doesn’t feature in the first team plans of the Chelsea manager. The Nigerian has dropped down the pecking order at the club behind N’Golo Kanté, Nemanja Matić, and Cesc Fàbregas, and is yet to make the bench this season. He has made over 370 appearances for the club, and has won two Premier League titles and the Champions League with the Blues.
The midfielder was also linked with a move to Italy, with Calciomercato claiming he had even agreed personal terms with Inter Milan. In recent weeks, La Liga club, Valencia, have shown an interest in him, with the club’s sporting director, Jesus Garcia Pitarch, admitting he has held talks with the Chelsea midfielder.
Garcia Pitarch said, as reported in Superdeporte:
In the case of Obi Mikel, with Chelsea’s permission, I met with him in London on Christmas day. informed him of the option [of joining Valencia]. He said he would think about it.
However, it seems that Mikel has made up his mind, and he will move to Asia instead. Mikel is a solid defensive midfielder, and he is still good enough to play for any top European club. Having won rich success with Chelsea, and playing 78 games for his country, he probably lacks the motivation to reinvigorate himself and try a different challenge. In that respect, a move to China is a safer option for him.
He would become the second player to have joined the Chinese Super League this season from Chelsea, with the Blues having already offloaded Oscar last month.