Chelsea have been involved in a lot of player sales of late, and one of their veteran midfielders is set to be one of the big transfers of the January 2017 transfer window
It looks like John Obi Mikel will not be signing a contract extension with Chelsea. His current deal runs out this January, and the 29-year-old Nigerian is set to head out of Stamford Bridge as a free agent.
Nigerian publication Own Goal Nigeria are now reporting that Obi Mikel has agreed to a four-year contract with La Liga side Valencia. The report states that the deal will be announced after the clubs decide which of them has to pay Obi Mikel compensation that he is owed.
Interestingly, the report also adds that the Nigerian captain has rejected advances from the likes of Olympique Marseille, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Chinese Super League club Shanghai SIPG.
Ligue 1 side Marseille seemed like front-runners to sign Obi Mikel just a few weeks ago, but recent interest from China had tongues wagging. However, the Nigerian reportedly prioritizes football over money, and didn’t even consider a move to the East.
This is in stark contrast to his teammates like Oscar and Ramires, both of whom left Chelsea in big money moves to China. Oscar has in fact moved to Shanghai SIPG, the same club who were reportedly interested in Obi Mikel.
The move represents a very good deal for all parties involved. At 29 years of age, John Obi Mikel still has what it takes to play among the best in Europe.
The Nigerian showed this last season, when he played an important first team role as Guus Hiddink managed to dig Chelsea out of the rut they had fallen into, helping them to a still less than flattering tenth-place finish.
Los Che find themselves in dire straits in La Liga, hovering just above the relegation zone. They lost three key players in Andre Gomes, Paco Alcacer and Shkodran Mustafi in the summer, and it looks like the reinforcements haven’t been adequate.
John Obi Mikel is a solid central midfielder who brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience. On top of all this, he is a free agent and so will not be too much of a financial burden for cash-stricken Valencia to bear.