Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel is set to end his nine year association with the Stamford Bridge club in favour of a move to the middle east to play for Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates.
Mikel has found first team opportunities hard to come by under Jose Mourinho as Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas have formed a formidable partnership at the base of Chelsea midfield , well supplemented by Oscar and the ever running Willian. Mikel is reportedly seeking a move away to play regular first team football after growing frustrated last season with the limited opportunities , having started less than half of Chelsea’s league games.
Mikel has been at Chelsea since 2006 and is one of the few current players who have played in both the Mourinho eras. In his nine year association with the blues, Mikel has won 10 trophies including two premier league titles,one Champions league and one Europa league.
His move to Al Ain was virtually confirmed by Asamoah Gyan , Ghana captain and current Al Ain striker, who stated :
“I heard it this week that he has agreed terms with Al Ain and will most definitely be playing for us next season. It’s great news for us because Mikel is a very good player and very experienced.”
Gyan himself has been at Al Ain since 2011 and reportedly earns £3.8 million a year. He added: “It will be exciting playing with him in the same team , because I believe both of us, with the help of our other colleagues, can do more for the club.”
Whatever the mooted reasons for his departure , one simple fact can’t be overlooked – Money. Mikel is set to earn absurdly high for his ability. Football lovers with long memories will easily recall what a messy affair his transfer to Chelsea was in the first place, with Manchester United earning a profit of £12 million without the player having ever actually played for them. Big things were expected of the Nigerian back then. To say that his career has been underwhelming from that point on is an understatement.