The Chelsea midfielder has confirmed joining Tianjin TEDA after agreeing to a deal to earn a whopping £140,000-a-week
Mikel Obi left Chelsea, the team where he grew from a boy to a man and became a father. In his 10 years at the London Club, Mikel rightly divided opinions, but his achievements for the club have to be hailed and will forever be remembered.
Chelsea’s official site said, “His finest moment came in 2012 in Munich when his incredible discipline in midfield protected the defense and helped us to claim our first Champions League triumph.”
And these four words, ‘incredible discipline in midfield’, best describe Mikel’s contribution to Chelsea over his 10-year stewardship. When he joined, he was a ball-playing midfielder, whom Jose Mourinho reformed to become the next Claude Makelele, who was just a ball retriever.
In 372 appearances for Chelsea in all competitions, he scored just six goals, which showed the distance he must have kept to the opposing goal – but that was the job he was contracted to do. It could, however, be argued that he really did not enjoy this role because whenever he came to play for the Super Eagles, he always angled for a more offensive position.
With two English Premier League titles, one Champions League, one Europa League, four FA Cups and two League Cups, Mikel was a success in West London.
He has also been a success at the national team, helping the Super Eagles to an African Nations Cup triumph and winning a bronze medal with the Olympic team.
On arrival in China, Mikel said, “I’m delighted to be joining Tianjin TEDA FC in China, at a time that the Chinese Super League is really taking off, and I look forward to helping Tianjin TEDA FC continue to grow both on and off the pitch in the next few years.”
He could finally get a more offensive playing position in Tianjin TEDA, but would also give ‘incredible discipline in midfield’ and leadership in the team.
He will join the likes of former team-mate Oscar, who made a £60m switch to Shanghai SIPG this month, and Carlos Tevez who became the world’s highest paid player after completing his China move. Mikel will leave Chelsea a fan favourite having won three Premier League titles, two FA Cups, one Champions League and one Europa League amongst others.
For Mikel, it is goodbye London, welcome China.