Mike Obi England Return on the Horizon

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Mikel Obi

Having left Turkish side, Trabzonspor, by mutual consent in March and has since remained without a club, former Super Eagles Captain, John Mikel Obi may be returning to England where he spent the better part of his footballing career. With newly-promoted West Bromwich Albion and Championship side, Stoke City on his trail, England may be beckoning on Mikel

Former Nigerian captain John Mikel Obi has left the door open to a return to English football.

The 33-year-old, who won the Champions League with Chelsea in 2012, is currently without a club having left Turkish side Trabzonspor by mutual consent in March. “Yes, there are interested clubs and England is a strong possibility and why not,” Mikel told BBC Sport Africa.

“We are currently in talks with clubs and there is absolutely no hurry. I can only wait to see what happens.”

He refused to confirm or deny media reports in England linking him with newly-promoted West Bromwich Albion and Championship side Stoke City.
Mikel, who captained his country to a third-place finish at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, has previously played in Norway and China, but achieved success in England with Chelsea.

The midfielder made 249 Premier League appearances for Chelsea in an 11-year spell, which ended when he left Stamford Bridge in 2017.

He also won two league titles, three FA Cups and the Europa League in 2013.

Before a stint with Chinese side, Tianjin TEDA and brief spell at Middlesbrough in the Championship during the 2018/19 campaign, featuring 19 times, scoring once.

The former Chelsea midfielder has said he intends to continue playing football and is open to any offers following his departure from Turkish side Trabzonspor.

The 33-year-old is not ready to hang up his boots yet, saying he was willing to consider any offer to continue his career.

“My goal is to continue playing football, and I hope I will have the opportunity, I do not reject any offers made to me, but rather study them well until I make the right decision.”

Following his departure from Stamford Bridge in January 2017, Mikel spent two seasons at Chinese side Tianjin Teda and half a season at Middlesbrough before he joined Trabzonspor last year.

In March, the former Nigerian national team captain refused to play for his Turkish club, arguing that league should have been postponed like its European counterparts as a safety measure against the deadly Coronavirus.

Mikel parted ways by mutual consent with Trabzonspor in March after expressing his concerns about the Turkish Super Lig continuing amid the global Coronavirus pandemic.

The 33-year-old played a crucial role in helping Trabzonspor soar to the summit of the Super Lig after joining Black Sea Storm as a free agent on a two-year deal last summer, at the end of his brief stint in the Championship with Middlesbrough.

Obi’s refusal to play in the top of the table clash between Trabzonspor and Istanbul Basaksehir was said to be the reason for the mutual termination of his contract and the Nigerian midfielder gave up his remaining wages.

The former Super Eagles captain had criticised Turkish football authorities for not suspending the Super Lig season despite the spread of the Coronavirus across Europe, stating he did not feel comfortable during the COVID-19 outbreak and called for the season to be cancelled.

He has been a free agent after his contract ended with Chinese side, Tianjin TEDA.

Trabzonspor was Mikel’s sixth club in his professional career which started at Nigerian side Plateau United, but it was at Chelsea that the midfielder enjoyed huge success winning two Premier League titles, three FA Cup trophies, a Football League title, the Champions League and Europa League.

The midfielder made 368 appearances for Chelsea between 2006 and 2017.

Mikel won a total of 89 caps for Nigeria, playing for them in the past two World Cups and helping the Super Eagles win the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, before announcing his retirement from international football last summer.

He was also one of Nigeria’s three over-age players as the African side won a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.