With the arrival of N’Golo Kante, there was uncertainty looming large over Mikel’s role in the squad, which has now been redefined by Conte.
John Obi Mikel has always played two different positions for his two teams — a defensive midfielder for Chelsea and a more advanced one for Nigeria. With the arrival of N’Golo Kante, it was uncertain what Conte would be doing with Mikel, who is currently the second longest serving member of the club.
However, according to reports on OwnGoalNigeria, Conte has now come up with a new plan wherein Mikel can play in the position that he does for Nigeria while at the same time getting him to agree to extend his stay at Stamford Bridge.
Mikel has not played a single match for Chelsea this season yet as he was out on international duty, getting a bronze medal for his country at the Rio Olympics. The Nigerian international has long been juggling between the two roles, having always played in a defensive position for the Blues.
With Kante and Matic playing deep in the midfield, it was rumoured that Mikel may be shown the door. However, with this new piece of information, it appears as if the 29-year-old will only be changing roles, in line with Conte’s larger scheme of things.
Ever since his arrival at Stamford Bridge, Conte has been working tirelessly to mend Chelsea’s defence, which was reflected in all the major Chelsea signings this season, culminating with David Luiz. With no dearth of defenders in his ranks now, Conte is apparently still not spoilt for choice and has everyone’s tasks cut out for them.
While it was generally assumed to end in Mikel’s exit, with the Nigerian’s change in position along with an extension in his contract, Conte has managed to keep the cake and eat it too.