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Obi Mikel, Chelsea and Manchester United

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A quick lesson in blind journalism for all you folks:

Heard about Jon Obi Mikel? You know, that kid Chelsea just signed for 16 mil (12 mil of which is going to United)?

A blue-tinted rant about Chelsea coming to the rescue

A red-tinted rant on Chelsea’s money games

Here’s my take on it:

You have a kid who is approached by Manchester United and he jumps at the chance to play for one of the biggest clubs in Europe. Surprisingly, his agent is not present. Both sides have argued to his absence, but considering Mikel’s reactions after meeting with his agent it’s safe to say that the agent was being paid well by Chelsea to ensure that he signed for them (perhaps the exact reason why United avoided the agent in the first place). There are accusations (mainly from Mikel, his agent and Chelsea) that Manchester United strongarmed the player into signing, but seeing as how these accusations came directly after Mikel’s meeting with Shittu (his agent) (which happened after news of the signing came out to the press, at least a few days later if memory serves) and considering that Chelsea had pressured him to bring Mikel to them (Chelsea have the perfect carrot – more money) they are suspect in themselves.

More likely than not, United swooped in and tried to snap up a player that was seemingly Chelsea-bound (of this I have no confirmation, but I will take the words of Chelsea fans on this one). Mikel signed, was at least till he met his agent (a gap of 2-3 days), a happy lad – he was going to play at one of the biggest clubs in Europe. Along came Shittu, Chelsea’s money and the promise to play for a helluva lot more money than Chelsea would be paying – plus the added benefit of being part of a team that was soon to be league champions. The fact that he jumped for more money is not appalling – it is natural and…sorry to say, typical of the greed shown in sport today. Frankly speaking, if you were offered a lot of money, you’d fkn take it. Fuck’s sake, I’d take it too.

But when you sign a legal document, you can either break the law or abide by it. Mikel chose to dishonour his contract, and with Chelsea backing the case seemed headed for the courts. Fifa had already told Chelsea that they had no claims over Mikel. To add to it, Mikel’s bleating about being forced and having a dream to play for Chelsea were put in their rightful place by the transfer deal of one Michael Essien in the summer of 2005. Manchester United seemed to be in the pole position for Essien until Chelsea stepped into the light. Essien himself spoke several times that he would love to play for United, them being such a big club and all, but when Chelsea came calling he jumped at the chance as well.

The end result? Instead of the case being dragged into court, Chelsea chose to pay off United to the tune of 12 million. For me, that’s a good deal because for that money you could potentially bring in two players of Mikel’s age and calibre. The only problem is that this agreement is neck-deep in strange actions. United may well claim that they have taken the easy road out and saved themselves the bother of going to the courts over a player who clearly wanted to play for the club with more money. In that sense United are much better off – why bother fighting for a player who doesn’t want to play for you anymore? From Chelsea’s end, I feel the payoff was smart as well, because I doubt they would have wanted it to come out in court that they had used the agent to pressure Mikel and used money as the only bargaining tool.

Some would say that he came to a team of champions. I’d say he came to the team that had bought its success (if you think Mourinho wasn’t bought, and that Mourinho came here for any other reason apart from the chance to play championship manager with the millions at his disposal, you had better tell me in the comments and support your argument for it). I’m not saying that’s wrong – Essien is entitled to his choices and he wants to be paid well – who doesnt?

But please don’t tell me Mikel was forced by United when you have a clear history of clubs swaying players by throwing money at them.

For all of Kenn’s elaborate BS, I think he’s missed the point completely. We are by nature selfish, and will always look out for the best deal. Obi Mikel did exactly that – first when he thought he had a chance to play for United, and then when he had the chance to be fkn rich thanks to Chelsea.

Enough of Chelsea and their transfers. All big transfers on hold till the World Cup ends, it seems. From now on, it’s England and the World Cup.

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Ahmed Bilal created Sportslens in 2006. He is a business consultant and entrepreneur who helps businesses identify and overcome their biggest challenges. He’s also the founder of Football Media, an online advertising agency that specialises in sports and male audience targeting, with a monthly reach of 100m+ sports fans in the UK and US. He’s also the previous owner of Soccerlens.com – a sports news site that reaches 3m+ readers / month.