“We need two world-class centre-halves” - John Obi Mikel urges Enzo Maresca to sell Chelsea duo who cost £70 million combined

John Obi Mikel has urged Enzo Maresca to part ways with Axel Disasi and Benoit Badiashile
John Obi Mikel has urged Enzo Maresca to part ways with Axel Disasi and Benoit Badiashile.

Former Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel has urged new manager Enzo Maresca to part ways with centre-backs Axel Disasi and Benoit Badiashile in the summer. The Nigerian delivered the damning verdict on The Obi One podcast, claiming that the Blues needed more 'proven' defenders in their squad.

Both Badiashile and Disasi joined Chelsea from Ligue 1 side AS Monaco for a reported £32 million in January 2023 and £38 million in August 2023, respectively. Their spells at Stamford Bridge have been equally tumultuous, with neither being able to nail down a spot under the rotating door of managers at the club.

In his one-and-a-half seasons with the Blues, Badiashile has made 33 appearances, missing nearly 25 games due to groin and hamstring injuries. On the other hand, Disasi made 44 appearances in his debut campaign, but was highly inconsistent.

Analyzing their career trajectories, Mikel believes that the pair should be sold by Chelsea in the upcoming summer and replaced with more experienced players. With veteran centre-back Thiago Silva also leaving, the Nigerian feels it is imperative that the Blues sign a couple of defenders.

He said (via Mirror):

"Thiago Silva is leaving, we need a couple of centre-halves. I don’t think Benoit Badiashile is the guy for Chelsea, no. [Axel] Disasi, no. They’re still young players, they will develop. We need proven, two top centre-backs who will come in there and stabilise that back four. We need that. We need two world-class centre-halves."

Chelsea have already announced the signing of Fulham's Tosin Adarabioyo

In the aftermath of Thiago Silva's departure, Chelsea were expected to bring in defenders with a degree of Premier League experience. The Blues did exactly that, announcing the signing of Tosin Adarabioyo from Fulham on June 6.

Even though a groin surgery kept the 26-year-old out of action from August to November 2023, he delivered solid performances on the pitch for the Cottagers. In 25 appearances across all competitions, he helped his side keep seven clean sheets, making an impressive 4.46 clearances and 3.12 aerial duels per 90 (via FootyStats).


Chelsea's squad already consists of promising young defenders like Levi Colwill, who enjoyed a great 2022-23 season on loan at Brighton, and academy graduate Alfie Gilchrist. They will also have Frenchman Wesley Fofana returning from a long hiatus after his anterior cruciate ligament tear.

However, under-fire centre-backs Axel Disasi and Benoit Badiashile are being linked with moves away from the club, while Silva has already joined boyhood side Fluminense. Therefore, Adarabioyo is expected to be the first of multiple defensive signings for the Blues.

The addition of Adarabioyo to the Blues' defensive ranks will provide a massive boost for new manager Enzo Maresca in his first season in charge of the club.

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