Mikel to sign new deal

Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel is set to agree a new five-year contract in the summer and end Inter Milan's hopes of signing him onc...

Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel is set to agree a new five-year contract in the summer and end Inter Milan's hopes of signing him once and for all. Mikel has enjoyed his best season for Chelsea since he joined the club from Lyn Oslo in 2006.

The Nigerian international opened talks over a new deal at the end of last year but they were then put on hold.

Inter Milan manager Jose Mourinho, who was in charge when Mikel arrived at Stamford Bridge, had hoped to capitalise by making a big-money offer to take him to the San Siro.

Mourinho is looking for a replacement for Patrick Vieira and reports in Italy claimed he was prepared to offer the 22-year-old £60,000 a week to make the switch to Serie A.

Mikel, who still has two years left on his current deal left to run, is understood to earn around £40,000-a-week at the moment.

But Chelsea are determined to keep Mikel at the club and are expected to match the offer Inter were reportedly planning.

Mikel's agent, John Shittu, said: "We are now discussing the renewal of the contract. There has been interest from different clubs in Spain and Italy, not forgetting some big teams in England, but John will remain at Chelsea.

"For the time being his only concern is to ensure his position with the Blues and until he has done that he will go nowhere."

Mikel showed his growing maturity in Chelsea's 0-0 draw with Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final, first leg at the Nou Camp on Tuesday. It was his 42nd start of the season, which is already 14 higher than the personal best he set in the last campaign.

He played a significant role in helping Chelsea nullify Barca's much-vaunted attack after being picked by Guus Hiddink to play alongside Michael Ballack in front of the back four.

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