Many La Liga fans who have been salivating at the prospect of Super Eagles Captain John Obi Mikel joining Spanish team Valencia after spending ten long years at English premier league side, Chelsea, have been left sorely disappointed as the Nigerian has opted for the money spinning Chinese League.
Confirming the deal on his Twitter handle, the now former Chelsea midfielder said he has signed to Chinese Super League club Tianjin TEDA where he hopes to be part of a new challenge.
But we really know what that means, don’t we?
In an emotional farewell note to Chelsea fans, Mikel thanked the Chelsea management, team and support for his successes, he said:
“None of this would have been possible without the wider club’s support. To [Chelsea owner Roman] Abramovich, the club’s staff, coaches, physio, and to the managers I played under at Chelsea, I want to say thank you.
“But my biggest thanks must go to the Blues fans. You brought me into the Chelsea family, you sung my name, and were there with us every step of the way.”
A letter to my Chelsea family. 🔵⚪️ pic.twitter.com/FhcUyq3iaV
— Mikel John Obi (@mikel_john_obi) January 6, 2017
With the deal, Mikel is following in the well worn path trodden on by the likes of former Chelsea stars Oscar, Ramirez and Demba Ba.
Nobody would begrudge Mikel this move after all, he has not been included in a single matchday squad for a competitive game since Antonio Conte took charge of Chelsea in the summer.
Now 29, Mikel, signed for Chelsea from Norwegian club Lyn in 2006 despite initially agreeing to join Manchester United. He went on to make 374 appearances for the West London club.
During his stint, he won 11 trophies, including two Premier League titles, the 2012 Champions League and the 2013 Europa League.
Mikel, who featured for Nigeria at the Rio Olympics in August and in World Cup qualifiers in October and November, becomes the latest big name to move to China.
Mikel’s former Chelsea teammate Oscar joined Shanghai SIPG, while Carlos Tevez moved to Shanghai Shenhua and Axel Witsel headed to Tianjin Quanjian.
This week, the Chinese government called for restraint in a bid to cool the inflated fees and salaries being offered by Chinese Super League clubs just days after the country’s transfer window opened.
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