It was a more emotional departure than Oscar’s as the Nigerian midfielder decided to leave the club who gave him everything. Even though he was still under contract with Chelsea until 2019, the 29-year-old decided to part ways with the team he served for almost his entire professional career.
He was the kind of player who sat in the shadow and barely made his presence felt even though some of his appearances were decisive for Chelsea. Despite not being the stand-out player people wanted him to be, he did make an impact, impact well reflected in John Terry’s words as reported by Metro:
“I would like to wish this LEGEND of a player and man all the very best with his move to China”
“Gutted to see you go ‘Old Boy’ gonna miss you both on and off the pitch, so many great memories together.”
“Love ya Obi. Good luck mate.”
Terry’s reaction to Obi Mikel’s departure says it all.
Yes it Mikel, who will now follow in the footsteps of Oscar and Ramires and move to China, leaves behind eleven important trophies and a spot in the club’s history books with a staggering 249 Premier League appearances. He was most valued the fans as he said in his goodbye post and was visibly sadden to leave.
- Going forward, Conte has already found someone to replace Mikel with. His name is Franck Kessie and is one of the most promising defensive midfielders in the game. He is currently under contract with Atalanta until 2021. He has been with the Italian side’s U19 team since 2015 and recently signed his pro contract. While in many situations this kind of CV would means that he is not for sale, this may not apply to Atalanta. They are a small club and they paid under £40 or less million for Kessie who is now valued at around 4 times that amount. Such profit is hard to come by in Serie A so chances are the Italian side will sell if Chelsea are serious about this transfer. It would be a good move to make but it would still not cover the gap left by Oscar and Mikel’s departure so hopefully, this will be just one of the new midfielders Conte brings to Chelsea.