By Olisemeka Obeche
Nigeria’s international and Chelsea defensive midfielder, John Mikel Obi has declared that he has no intention of leaving the London Club in the foreseeable future and that he was ready to fight for more playing times in the star-studded squad.
In a video message uploaded on YouTube on Monday, Mikel who started only six league games last season declared that he would love to spend the rest of his playing career at Chelsea as a result of his cosy relationship with the club. “I want to be in Chelsea for the rest of my career because I love this club,” he declared.
Mikel who arrived Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2006 from Lynn Oslo after a protracted contract dispute over his signature between Chelsea and Manchester United, has increasingly become a fringe member of the squad since the arrival of Nemanja Matic.
With prospect of fewer playing times ahead, the highly rated Super Eagles’ midfielder was rumoured to be on his way out with summer move to the United Arab Emirates clubs, Al Ain and Al Wahda all mooted. Turkish club, Fenerbahce reportedly picked interest in signing Mikel lately with Chelsea playing hard ball. Now, the player has come out to pledge his future to Stamford Bridge.
According to the 28-year-old star, the decision to remain at Chelsea and fight for a place in the team is not about money but due to the special relationship he has built with the club over the years. “It’s about how people treat you. Chelsea have treated me well since I have been here. So, I want to finish my career here”, he said.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho also reportedly refused to sanction the sale of Mikel, saying the Nigerian who has a contract with Chelsea until 2017 features in his plans.
Mikel stressed that the only condition he will quit Chelsea is if a new handler arrives and declares him surplus to his requirements. “There might be a manager that comes tomorrow and say ‘Mikel, I don’t want you here. By that time, I have to think of going somewhere else, but at the moment, I am quite happy here. I love Chelsea! ”
Mikel has made 339 appearances in all competitions and has won every possible honour for Chelsea in his nine-year stint at the London club.
He has won two English Premier League titles, the Uefa Champions League, Uefa Europa League, four English FA Cup, two League Cups and the Community Shield.
Mikel, who has been capped 70 times by his country, won the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations and appeared in all Super Eagles’ four matches at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.