A former Chelsea star playing in Asia has denied a potential return to the Premier Leaguew with only six months left before he embarks on a new World Cup adventure with his country. We are talking about former Blues’ star and Nigeria international John Obi Mikel.
The former Chelsea defensive midfielder spent most of his career in England, but has been playing for Chinese Super League side Tianjin Teda since January after joining the club as a free agent. And while it has been reported that Everton are keen to sign the 30-year-old during the upcoming January transfer window, Mikel has other plans. He is keen to stay in China for the foreseeable future.
“I don’t know where such a rumour came from, but this story is untrue,” the Nigeria international told Tianjin TV. “I want to stay in the Chinese Super League and play for Teda. I’m sure there will be lots of speculation about me as the transfer window nears but this is a false rumour.”
Mikel played just 13 times for Tianjin last season as he struggled with a number of injuries, but managed to score a goal and looked quite decisive when on the pitch. He is confident that the Chinese Super League is a competition on the rise, and he believes playing there will keep him fit enough to be in the World Cup next year, although he acknowledged that there is still a “sizable gap” between the CSL and the top leagues in Europe.
Mikel played 249 matches for Chelsea throughout his career and scored one goal, while winning 76 caps (and scoring six times) with the Nigeria national team. He won one UEFA Champions League, two Premier Leagues, four FA Cups, two Carling Cups, and one UEFA Europa League with The Blues.