Former Chelsea and Nigeria midfielder John Obi Mikel is back in English football, but not where you might think.
After being released from his contract at Trabzonspor following his public displeasure at the Turkish league continuing in the Covid-19 pandemic, Mikel, now 33, has rocked up at the bet365 Stadium to play for Stoke City in next seasons Championship.
John Obi Mikel & The Stoke Renaissance
Mikel returns to England for what will be the midfielders third jaunt in English football after an 11-year spell with Chelsea before a short stay at Middlesbrough in 2019. Also Read: Why Willian won’t be missed at Chelsea
With 91 caps for his country and having won almost everything there is to be won during his time at Stamford Bridge, Mikel will bring a wealth of experience to the Stoke ranks, and his new boss Michael O’Neill is only too delighted to have the Nigerian on board.
Stoke fans and Mikel alike will hope he can bring some of his winning mentality to the club, a club which in their opinion has spent too long out of the top flight as they embark on their second season in English football’s second tier.
For Mikel it will be an opportunity to show English football fans he’s still got what it takes, having been a fleeting figure since his Chelsea departure in 2017. Since he left the Blues he has had a spell in China with Tianjin TEDA, that short period at Middlesbrough and his ill-fated Turkish adventure.
Whatever happens the Mikel to Stoke story is a coo for the Championship club, despite his advancing years to attract a player of his prestige with over 350 Chelsea appearances under his belt could still be classified as a big deal for the Potters.
Who knows, if the versatile midfielder has still got the legs and the ability, he could well be a big part of the team that guides Stoke back to the promised land of the top flight, and we may yet see Mikel reacquainted with Premier League football in 2021/21.