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Nigeria’s Mikel could end 11-year Chelsea love affair

Just when you think the treatment of Yaya Toure by City’s coach Pep Guardiola is already bad news for Africa, another of the continent’s top guns John Obi Mikel of Chelsea is on the verge of leaving The Blues.

Mikel has grown increasingly disillusioned over being overlooked since the arrival of new club manager Antonio Conte.

The 29 year-old is yet to play a minute of football under the 47-year-old Italian since returning from Olympic duty with Nigeria’s Dream Team.

The midfielder captained his country at Rio Olympics and one would think Mikel grabbing bronze with unquestionable displays in the summer sports jamboree would be enough to convince the erstwhile Juventus manager to reconsider him into his plans for the season.

Instead Antonio –spoiled with transfer cash – went ahead sanctioning a deal to acquire France midfield powerhouse N’Golo Kanté from champions Leicester City.

Arrival of the 25-year-old signaled beginning and end to Nigeria’s Mikel playing days at Chelsea.

The Blues gaffer is already spoilt for choice with Nemanja Matic, young sensation Loftus-Cheek and Fàbregas fighting to win a place in a much crowded midfield role with the coming of Kanté further throwing Obi’s future in the balance.

The truth is, the Nigeria international is no stranger to these kinds of situations –being overlooked – and was a near surplus to requirement before re-launching his career under then interim manager Guus  Hiddink in an otherwise disastrous campaign last season.

But under the present situation he’s found himself in, it would be difficult for the London club’s second longest-serving player –after John terry – to walk his way back to the starting line up with £30m signing Kanté preferred by Conte along with  the Serb Matic as his partner.

The current development has forced the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations winner pondering ending his 11-year love affair with the Stamford Bridge outfit though he remains open to a January move to another EPL side or better still China including the Major League Soccer at end of his contract June next year.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]’When you have a year left, in January you are allowed to talk to other clubs and sign a pre-contract or have an agreement so, yes, I will talk to other clubs because you never know what is going to happen,’[/perfectpullquote]

he tells

‘If it is going to be the Premier League there will be options. If it is China or some other places, we will see. One thing is for sure, I will make the best decision.’

John Michael Nchekwube Obinna joined Chelsea in 2006 from then Norwegian Eliteserien outfit Lyn Oslo.

The move was one caught up in a web of controversy amid widespread reports Manchester United first agreed to sign the then teenager only for Chelsea to gazump the deal.

John Mikel has 372 appearances for Chelsea scoring only one premier league goal in 2013 against relegation-threatened Fulham.

He boats of two EPL titles, four FA Cup winners’ medals, two League Cup medals, UEFA Europa League , Champions League, Uefa Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup runners’-up titles.


Featured Photo: Courtesy of Getty Images

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