John Obi Mikel has been linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge over the summer, most notably to Galatasaray and Napoli, but he hopes to finish his career at Chelsea.
Like the club’s other stars that competed in the FIFA Confederations Cup (with the exception of Oscar) the midfielder has barely featured for the Blues over the pre-season and made his only league appearance so far as a substitute at Old Trafford on Monday.
Despite being linked with a number of defensive midfielders over the summer Chelsea have not signed someone of Daniele De Rossi’s ilk, for example, and Mikel remains the only natural defensive midfielder in the squad. Ramires is currently occupying the role and is doing so very well but I would like to see the Brazilian given the freedom to play his box-to-box game at some point.
Mikel’s agent John Shittu revealed that his client has no plans to leave West London:
“He loves this club, the manager knows him and likes him and he will not be going anywhere during this transfer window. Some clubs came in and expressed their interest but that is where it stopped. They were never allowed to get to the point where we could even begin to start talking about valuation or negotiation.
“We cannot say what will happen in the future. This is football and anything is possible. But, for now, he is a Chelsea player and is happy to remain a Chelsea player for the rest of his career.”
On Mikel’s lack of playing time so far, Shittu added:
“He did not have a proper pre-season because he got a couple of weeks extra off due to his Confederations Cup participation and then an injury so he is not fully match fit.
“When he starts playing is down to the manager but as soon as he gets his match fitness back, he will be in contention.”
My theory is that that it was never really on the cards that Mikel would be leaving Chelsea this summer but perhaps a rumour or two was deliberately put out there because he needed reassurance from either the club or Jose Mourinho, so he’s probably got it by now and like Avram Grant, Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti I can see Mourinho calling on him as a reliable option in midfield, especially as it was he who started Mikel’s career as a deep lying midfielder.
Saying that there will be many fans that would have preferred to see Mikel moving on but I think he’s one of the most under-appreciated players we have had. He’s won almost everything there is to win with Chelsea, has an international honour for his country after winning the African Cup and he is still just 26.
I get the criticisms as he isn’t perfect, can sometimes slow down play and in the position he plays the slightest error could prove fatal but he is very economic with the ball, has the position awareness to fill in when a fullback joins the attack or when David Luiz goes on one of his mental runs. I know not everyone will agree with me and that’s absolutely fine, but I’d be glad to see Mikel stay.
Source: Evening Standard