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Manchester United transfer rumour: Jose Mourinho looking to snap up Chelsea's John Obi Mikel

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The Nigerian will be a free agent next summer.

A reunion imminent?

Manchester United are reportedly looking to snap up Chelsea’s John Obi Mikel in the summer as Jose Mourinho looks to tighten up his midfield. The Nigerian is a free agent come the end of the season and could reunite with his former boss at Manchester United on a free. 

Having failed to make a single appearance for Antonio Conte’s side this season, Mikel looks like he’s counting down the days before he can start playing regularly once again and given Conte’s strict formation tactics, the Nigerian is likely to look for a place elsewhere for first-team football. 

Jose Mourinho is desperately in search of a defensive midfielder who could come in and replace Michael Carrick in the centre of the field. And having managed the Nigerian before, Mourinho would find him a comfortable option given his versatility and his ability to break down down plays with ease. 

And given he could join the club on a free, Mourinho would be more than interested knowing very well he needn’t negotiate a price or even face too much competition to sign him. For Mikel, it’s a win, too. He’s clearly not a Conte-esque player and when a manager whom he’s had success in the past with comes calling, it would be foolish to look the other way. 

Manchester United are also said to be monitoring the likes of Marco Verratti, Toni Kroos and Arturo Vidal. The Portuguese manager needs someone who could be the perfect shield for his back-four and do enough of a defensive job to ensure the likes of Paul Pogba and Juan Mata can go forward knowing very well there’s someone behind them who can clean up the mess should the attack break down. 

Chelsea haven’t used Mikel this season simply because he isn’t the kind of mobile midfielder Conte likes to have in the centre of the pitch. You could say the same for Matic, too but the Siberian has been stellar this season in building up attacks and breaking down plays even though he tends to drift forward more often. 

That’s the kind of versatility a player is expected to have if he’s to be a regular started under the Italian. AS Roma’s Radja Nainggolan, Paris Saint-Germain’s Marco Verratti, Bayern Munich’s Thiago Alcantara and Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla are linked with the West London club given their ability to play multiple roles and comfortable at that – anywhere along the middle four. 

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