Chelsea have rediscovered their form under new boss Antonio Conte after a dismal 2015-16 campaign and are back in title race with 25 points after completion of 11th gameweek, only one point behind table topper Liverpool Football Club.
However, not everyone is happy at Chelsea, especially midfielder John Obi Mikel who is considering other options in January after being largely overlooked by the new manager. Mikel, who joined the club back in 2006, has been a regular squad player for past 10 campaigns. The 29-year old Nigerian international has appeared 372 times for the Blues scoring six times and has 2 Premier Leagues, 4 FA Cups, 2 League Cups, 1 UEFA Champions League and 1 UEFA Europa League medals under his belt.
Mikel has not appeared in any of Chelsea’s fixtures this season and was largely unnoticed during their League Cup games as well. New arrival N’Golo Konte has been slotted in the heart of midfield alongside Nemanja Matic as Conte’s 3-4-3 has been a huge success so far in Premier League. Big name midfielders like Cesc Fabregas and Oscar are finding it difficult to break into the first team squad which has jeopardized Mikel’s position furthermore sending him down the pecking order.
In a recent interview with ESPN FC, the defensive midfielder has shared his frustration: “For the first time in my career, this is happening to me and I have to stand up and deal with it.
“It is what it is but I’m training hard every day and I always wish the team the best and I am happy we are doing well.
The midfielder further added, “I’ve been at Chelsea a long time. Managers come and go, players come and go. I’ve been at Chelsea a long time and these things happen in football. So we will have to make that decision when January comes.”
Mikel’s contract will expire at the end of this campaign and Conte has refused to extend his contract. Thus, a January move is on cards for the midfielder who has been a long-term servant of Chelsea Football Club.
Photo by Ben Sutherland