Antonio Conte has made some phenomenal changes to Chelsea this season, but his arrival could spell the end of one of the club’s veteran midfielders in John Obi Mikel

The Nigerian central midfielder joined Chelsea in 2006, and has been a key player for them over the past decade. However, Mikel has not started a single game under new Blues manager Antonio Conte, and his West London chapter is set to end sooner rather than later.

The 29-year-old’s contract is set to expire in the summer of 2017, and he has previously been linked with a move to Ligue 1 outfit Olympique Marseille. It now looks like the move is almost a done deal.

Nigeria head coach Gernot Rohr has stated that Mikel is in advanced talks and is likely to leave Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2017.

“I saw Obi Mikel in London,” Rohr told French Radio station Europe 1, according to Goal.

“He is in advanced discussions with Olympique Marseille.

“He will leave Chelsea for free. This is a serious option.”
Tottenham Hotspur's Belgian midfielder Mousa Dembele (L) vies with Chelsea's Nigerian midfielder John Obi Mikel (R) during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge in London on May 2, 2016. (Photo by Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images)

Tottenham Hotspur’s Belgian midfielder Mousa Dembele (L) vies with Chelsea’s Nigerian midfielder John Obi Mikel (R) during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge in London on May 2, 2016. (Photo courtesy Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images)

John Obi Mikel still has some time left at the top level, having played an important first team role last season for Chelsea. The Nigerian brought some stability to an otherwise disappointing Blues side, but it looks like his contributions won’t be rewarded with another deal with the club.
Mikel is a powerful presence in midfield and has played the holding midfielder role for Chelsea very well over the years. Marseille would be a good, competitive choice for the 29-year-old, but he could also end up following his teammate Oscar to the Chinese Super League.
Another interesting rumour regarding Mikel’s future doing the rounds is that Manchester United manger Jose Mourinho is interested in bringing him to Old Trafford.
The Portuguese manager was the one who brought Mikel to Chelsea in the first place. He already signed one former player on a free transfer this past summer, and could well repeat the trick next summer.

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