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Chelsea Transfer Rumours: Selling John Obi Mikel Would Be a Smart Move for Blues

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 31:  John Mikel Obi of Chelsea in action during the Capital One Cup Fourth Round match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on October 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 17, 2013

Chelsea shouldn't be feeling blue at the prospect of losing John Obi Mikel this summer.

This could be an eventful period for the 26-year-old midfielder. First he'll be playing with Nigeria in the Confederations Cup, then he could be off training with and getting used to the surroundings of a new club.

The Guardian's Dominic Fifield reported the Blues could be moving Mikel shortly after the tournament is over:

Galatasaray's interest in the Chelsea midfielder Mikel John Obi is to prompt a bid for the Nigerian international, most likely at the conclusion of the Confederations Cup in Brazil.

Mikel, one of five senior players who remain on the books at Stamford Bridge from José Mourinho's first spell in charge at the club, is aware of the Turkish champions' intent but is not agitating to leave. The 26-year-old will instead gauge Chelsea's reaction to any offer that is tabled – it would have to exceed £12m for a player who is contracted until 2017 – and then scrutinise what personal terms Gala would put forward to entice him to Istanbul.

A report in the Express said Mikel could be getting a deal worth £13 million over four years from the Turkish club.

It's a move that Chelsea don't necessarily have to make. The Nigerian midfielder has really grown into his role as a CDM at the club. For a few years, you wondered if he would follow through on his potential. Over the last season or two, Mikel has done exactly that.

The issue is whether or not he's as good as some players the club could possibly bring in. The Express' report mentions Daniele De Rossi or Marco van Ginkel as possible alternatives.

It's hard to argue that either wouldn't be an upgrade over Mikel.

Van Ginkel would be a great move for the future. He's a polished box-to-box midfielder who's in his early 20s and is only improving. De Rossi is one of the best defensive midfielders in the world right now; you can't get much better than him.

The Blues generally don't come out as losers in a transfer market. They buy and sell players with a plan in mind.

Should Chelsea offload the player, it would surely be a sign that they're going to snatch somebody like De Rossi or van Ginkel. Maybe even Marouane Fellaini, despite reports otherwise.

If the club do nothing regarding the midfield, then it could still run into some issues.

Chelsea will also be welcoming back Josh McEachran, Michael Essien and Kevin de Bruyne from loans. If the Blues choose to try to integrate those three into the first team, their midfield will be pretty crowded. Selling Mikel would help alleviate some of that pressure.

From a purely financial perspective, the timing couldn't be any better to see Mikel off. Chelsea aren't in any position to have to sell players to ease a monetary burden, but they could probably get a nice return on their investment.

The player is just now entering his prime. When a midfielder hits 26 or 27, he's enjoying the best footballing years of his life. Once he turns 28, 29, it's starts going downhill. At 26 years old, the timing is perfect to sell Mikel.

Plus, Mikel will be coming off a Confederations Cup in which he'll be one of the leaders for the Nigerian national team. If the Super Eagles don't do well, it won't really be held against him considering not much was expected of the team coming in. If Nigeria make it to the knockout stage, then Mikel will be getting a ton of credit, along with his teammates. His value could be inflated as a result of four or five games.

If Chelsea go into next season with Mikel in the midfield, they would be pretty well off. The Blues could be in a much better position if they sell the player with a view of upgrading at defensive midfielder.

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