As Chelsea's summer recruitment drive rumbles on, it would appear that John Obi Mikel's eight-year stint at Stamford Bridge could be coming to an end.
Manager Jose Mourinho is eager to add another midfielder to his already burgeoning squad and has targeted his old colleague from Real Madrid, Sami Khedira, according to Anthony Chapman of the Daily Express.
Arsenal are eager to sign up the German World Cup winner too, but Mourinho is hoping his personal ties with a player he coached at Real Madrid for three seasons—winning the Liga title in 2012 and Copa del Rey in 2011—will swing the deal.
Khedira's arrival would add to an already overstocked central midfield that includes the likes of Nemanja Matic, Ramires, Willian, Cesc Fabregas and Mario Pasalic; Mikel is the man set to be squeezed out.
As Chapman continues in the Daily Express, "Chelsea have a number of players competing for places in the centre of the pitch, including former Gunners hero Cesc Fabregas, but one man who looks set to leave is Nigeria international Mikel."
Mikel made just 11 starts in the Premier League last season and has already been offered to a variety of clubs, including Serie A side Inter Milan, per Super Sport's Sammy Wejinya.
It would seem to be the right time to offload the deep-lying midfielder, with other clubs also linked with Mikel, per Wejinya.
Given his paucity of starts last season and the increase in competition this term, it is unlikely Mikel will be a regular in Mourinho's team in the near future. And the more time he spends on the sidelines, the more his value will decrease.
The Nigeria international also made his debut in the shop window that is the World Cup this year. He played in all four of Nigeria's games, per WhoScored.com, as they progressed to the knockout stages. Potential suitors will have taken note.
Also, at 27, Mikel is heading into his prime years. While he may not be wanted at Stamford Bridge, his age and experience make him lucrative transfer material.
After all, this is a player who has won the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup, Champions League and Europa League during his time with the Blues.
He is a player with an excellent curriculum vitae, who should attract plenty of interest.
And despite the riches of owner Roman Abramovich, Chelsea now have to abide by the Fair Play rules laid down by UEFA. Mikel represents an opportunity to redress some of their summer spending thus far.
If Mikel is not going to play, it makes little sense to keep him at Stamford Bridge as his price slowly depreciates.
And given the quality of alternatives available at Stamford Bridge, his absence will not make a huge difference to the club on the pitch.
The sale makes sense. All that remains is to see where he pitches up next season.
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