Former Super Eagles’ captain, John Mikel Obi is in a tough dilemma over his choice of a summer transfer move to either of two clubs with strong Nigerian tradition, as he is reportedly attracting interest from Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion, megasportsarena.com gathered.
Stoke, whom currently have Oghenekaro Etebo on their roster, have in the past paid the wages of Shola Ameobi, Peter Osaze Odemwingie and Victor Moses, while West Brom had in the past Nwankwo Kanu, Ifeanyi Udeze, Victor Anichebe and Aide Brown Ideye, such that joining either of both clubs would be a revival of their team’s Nigerian tradition by Mikel.
The development means Mikel could be on his way back to playing in England once again, where he previously made top marks with Chelsea and returned to star for Middlesbrough a couple of years ago in the English Championship.
However, just a year after his departure from Middlesbrough, Mikel appears to prefer playing again in the Championship, such that he may eventually snub Semi Ajayi’s Albion, who recently gained promotion to English Premier League, and opt instead to link forces with Etebo at Stoke.
This can be deducted from a report by StokeonTrentLive, which disclosed that Mikel is on the fringes of a sealed deal with The Potters, who are said to be weighing up a move for the former Chelsea star, who has also played for Plateau United of Jos, Lyn Oslo of Norway, Tianjin Teda of China and Trabzonspor of Turkey.
With Stoke reportedly in the hunt for an experienced holding midfielder to boost their squad-depth in the coming season, all permutations are supporting a deal for Mikel, who is currently a free agent after mutually terminating his contract with Trabzonspor over coronavirus concerns.
Since taking that decision back in March, Mikel has been linked with Internacional and Botafogo of Brazil as well as Benevento of Italy, but his preference is to remain in England with his family, which has alerted the interest of WBA, but the star’s desire to avoid top-flight pressure might see him settle for a deal at Stoke City later this month.
Incidentally, this is not the first time Stoke have been linked with Mikel, as The Potters were also credited with a move for him five years ago, when they were still in the EPL, and their coach, Michael O’Neill sees ‘The Catalyst’ as a leading contender in his search for a well-versed holding midfielder.
Indeed, Mikel would add lots of value and flare, with a deep-level of experience, having made more than 350 appearances for Chelsea, with which he won the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, English Premier League, English FA Cup, League Cup and Community Shield.
After his trophy-laden and highly successful 11 years’ stay at Stamford Bridge, Mikel moved to China, before he returned to England for a short-term deal at Boro during the 2018/19 campaign in the Championship, captaining the team in a handful of the total 19 matches he played for The Riverside outfit, but he had a single goal to show.
Middlesbrough’s former coach, Tony Pulis was full of praise for Mikel’s performances with the lower division side during their time together with the team, and the gaffer declared: “Since he came into the football club, the level of his performances have been exceptional.”