Chelsea transfer news: John Obi Mikel hints at Stamford Bridge exit in January
The Nigerian has failed to earn a spot in the team under Antonio Conte.
Chelsea midfielder, John Obi Mikel has hinted that he may leave the Premier League club in the January transfer window. The stalwart has been at the club for ten years and is their second longest-serving player after captain John Terry. However, under new manager Antonio Conte, he hasn't played at all this season.
“I have never been a guy to make excuses; I never shy away from my responsibilities. Yes, people will say ‘he went to the Olympics’ and ‘he didn’t have a pre-season with the team’ and a new manager came in and was probably upset I went to the Olympics and thought I don’t care about the team. I don’t want to make excuses. At the end of the day, I have to keep training hard and trying to change the manager’s mind. If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen.”
“I will keep doing my best and ready for when called up upon," he said. "We will see what happens in January."
After joining the Blues in 2006 under controversial circumstances, the player is relaxed about his future and looks back on his career so far as an enriching experience. “I have been a part of the best years of this club. Chelsea never won the Champions League before; I was there, and I was the man of the match in the final. I have written my name in the history of this football club, and I have won loads of trophies. I have played close to 400 games and have no single regret. I have done it all. I still want to win more and help the team. Players move on in life, but I am relaxed about January. I will speak to the club find the best solution. I could say a lot of things which could put me in trouble, but I would rather be quiet.”
Meanwhile, Nigerian coach Gernot Rohr firmly believes that Mikel is being punished for representing his country at the Rio Olympics.
"There is a reason why Mikel is not playing for Chelsea right now, and that reason is because he played for Nigeria at the Olympics. I cannot punish a player who loves his country and shows that he loves the green jersey. He is here with us, and he is fit, and I hope he can play for 90 minutes against Algeria, but if it is not possible, we shall see."
With Chelsea sitting on top of the table after 12 games played, there is little reason for Antonio Conte to change his solid midfield partnership of Nemanja Matic and N'Golo Kanté. It remains to be seen how the Nigerian will phase into the Italian manager’s plans.