Mikel snubs Chinese riches to stay in Europe


Mikel Obi
Mikel Obi

LONDON – By Omobolaji Oyegunle

Super Eagles captain and Chelsea midfielder Mikel John Obi is considering rejecting a huge pay day in the Chinese League to join a club in Europe.

We reported earlier that Mikel had received an offer from Shanghai SIPG, the club which bought Chelsea teammate Oscar for £60million.

The Nigerian captain could earn up to £170,000 a week– £100,000 a week more than he is on now — if he moves to China.

With Antonio Conte freezing him out of the first team, Mikel is likely to leave next month rather than when his contract expires in the summer.

But, we understands that the midfielder is thinking about staying in Europe to play in a competitive league and add to his medal collection, rather than boosting his earnings in a weaker competition.

Marseille have been interested in the defensive midfielder for months and sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta is believed to have offered him a contract, which is likely to be worth less than he gets at Stamford Bridge.

While the French League is not rated as highly as England’s top flight, it is still a respected competition and offers Champions League football.

Nigeria coach Rohr Gernot confirmed at the weekend that Mikel is in negotiations with the French club.

Marseille, who last won the French title in 2009/10, are sixth in the table and the club were where Mikel’s former Chelsea team-mate, Didier Drogba, played before joining the Blues in 2004. Mikel values Drogba’s opinion and has spoken to him about playing at the League 1 club.

Another reason Mikel is having a second thoughts about China is that he has a young family, with a partner and twin girls. The 29-year-old believes staying in Europe would be the best thing.

Mikel also has offers from clubs in Turkey and Spain. He could keep his family in their Surrey home and go off to play on the continent as Drogba did when he was with Galatasaray.

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