Nigerian international, John Obi Mikel entered his 11th season as a Chelsea player at the beginning of the term, but despite being one of the oldest serving members of the club, he is yet to make a single appearance (across all competitions) thus far.
The midfielder, who has amassed a total 372 appearances for the west London side since he first lined up as Chelsea player in 2006, didn’t feature in the pre-season preparations and the International Champions Cup. He was on international duty with Nigeria at the Rio 2016 Olympics, where he led the west African football powerhouse to a Bronze medal.
Since his return to the club, he has been fit and sound but has never made any of Antonio Conte’s matchday squads. Currently with his country as he prepares to lead them in the opening fixture of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, it’s safe to say Mikel’s time at Chelsea might have come to an end, and here are 3 reasons why he should be sold.
He is “extra-surplus” to requirements
Obviously, Mikel isn’t in Conte’s (backup) plans for now and the foreseeable future. Not making it to the bench just once since he returned says a lot about how irrelevant he has become at Chelsea.
He has always been a bit-part player at the club, averaging 24 EPL appearances per season in his decade-long stay, and with no single minute played yet in the current campaign, shipping him out seems the only solution there is.
Kante, Matic, Fabregas, Oscar, Loftus-Cheek and Chalobah are all ahead of Mikel in the pecking order, that’s provided if he is in one entirely. And the big picture regarding his sudden unimportance keeps getting clearer by the day.
Mikel is still “valuable” for the time being
By the end of the season, the 2-time Chelsea Young Player of the Year will have only just one year left on his current contract, during which he would have clocked 30. Hence, the club’s policy of renewing contracts of over-30 players by just a year naturally sets in.
If he sees out his last year, he becomes a free agent and the Bosman rule sets in. Meaning Chelsea won’t be able to make any money on his transfer by then.
However, sanctioning his sales and doing it now will see the Blues earn a considerable amount in transfer fees.
The January transfer window is a perfect opportunity, and if no tangible offers come from Europe, the Chinese Super League or MLS will be keen to add his football expertise to their sides and quickly make a swoop.
He isn’t yielding any “returns”
Earning £75,0000 per week just to train and watch Chelsea’s games is all about everything Mikel does for now. If that continues until the end of the season – a very likely possibility, then he would have earned £3million, probably for doing next to nothing.
That paycheck will be better put to good use some other ways, but spending it on the player who doesn’t contribute to the club’s campaign and isn’t in the coach’s short or long-term plans doesn’t make sense. Mikel is better off gone.