Another Chelsea Midfielder to leave Stamford Bridge in January.
Frozen out by Antonio Conte since his arrival at the club in the summer, John Obi Mikel is set to leave the club next month after his age...
Frozen out by Antonio Conte since his arrival at the club in the summer, John Obi Mikel is set to leave the club next month after his agent confirmed a move.
The Mikel debate is one that divides opinion of Chelsea fans the most with those that can see the benefit his of positional play and defensive abilities without the ball, compared to those that become frustrated with his lack of ability with the ball at his feet.
I personally have taken a lot of stick for being one of those that respect his defensive abilities without the ball having played what I believe to be an important role in the most successful period in our history.
Now I am aware that he plays as an attacking midfielder for Nigeria and has scored important goals for them recently, but being deployed as the holding midfielder in front of our back four in either a two in the 4-2-3-1 formation or on his own in the 4-3-3, Mikel had always gone about his business without much fuss but effectively.
He always managed to find himself in the right areas to close down the space, to make important tackles and to win back possession of the ball. Think of those early years he was here and it did make a real difference.
The problem Mikel has had playing in his position is that gone are the days of Claude Makelele who would just sit a protect the defence, you need to be able to use the ball effectively well and this is where Mikel has struggled to the point that he has lost his place in the side under various managers in recent years.
If you look at N'Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic who occupy the defensive positions and what they can both do with the ball at their feet you will immediately see the difference.
So to Mikel and a possible move next month. His agent spoken in the press recently and said:
"It is very likely that Obi Mikel will leave Chelsea in January.
There are many clubs who are interested in his services so let’s see how it goes. In the past, we did have some discussions with Inter Milan but there are also many other Italian clubs who want him.
Mikel has admirers all over the world, in England, Germany, China, Spain and in Italy. Let’s see what happens in the coming weeks." - Source - Metro.
I have little doubt that Mikel would find himself in high demand to do purely a defensive job for somewhere like Italy or Spain.
It would be a shame to see him go but it's clear that with the way Chelsea play now, he has become a casualty of the tactical switch that has been made.