…to earn £140,000 weekly
John Mikel Obi has on Friday moved to Chinese side Tianjin TEDA after 10-and-a-half years with Chelsea for a peculiar reason.
The midfield protector said it had been “an honour” to play for the Stamford Bridge club but it was time to “seek a new challenge”.
The Nigerian has made 372 appearances for Chelsea since joining in 2006 but has not featured this season.
“I haven’t featured as much this season as I would have liked and I still have many years in the game ahead of me,” Mikel wrote on Twitter in a message to Chelsea fans.
“With this in mind, I feel now is the time to seek a new challenge.
“I’m delighted to be joining Tianjin TEDA FC at a time that the Chinese Super League is really taking off, and I look forward to helping Tianjin TEDA FC continue to grow.
“To play in the Premier League is every professional player’s ambition.
“But to play for Chelsea, to become part of the Chelsea family to work with some of the best managers and players in the world, has truly been an honour.”
Mikel will reportedly earn £140,000 a week.
However, the Super Eagles Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr cautioned him to think twice before accepting offers from outside Europe as he is set to jump off Stamford Bridge in the winter transfer window.
The 29-year-old is one of a select band of five foreign players in Blues’ history to have reached the 300-game landmark – alongside Chelsea greats Petr Cech, Didier Drogba, Branislav Ivanovic and Gianfranco Zola.
His finest moment came in 2012 in Munich, when his incredible discipline in midfield protected the defence and helped the club to claim its first Champions League triumph.
Mikel, who was referred to as ‘Silverware’ on Chelsea website, the club’s Young Player of the Year in his debut 2006/07 season, having arrived from Norwegian side Lyn Oslo. He ended that campaign with two winners’ medals: the League Cup and FA Cup. He lifted the latter trophy four times in our colours.