Mikel close to signing for Al Ain, say reports

Mikel close to signing for Al Ain, say reports

Clubs flex their muscles to get top names for next season

By James Jose (senior Reporter)

Published: Tue 16 Jun 2015, 11:21 AM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 3:11 PM

John Obi Mikel still has an active contract with Chelsea. — AFP

John Obi Mikel still has an active contract with Chelsea. — AFP

Abu Dhabi — As clubs in the UAE top flight flex their muscles in the race to sign top names for next season, it is believed that Al Ain are making a move for English Premier League champions Chelsea’s John Obi Mikel.

The news about him possibly joining the Arabian Gulf League champions had broken earlier in the week and it has gathered speed with reports in the British and Nigerian media saying the 28-year-old midfielder is set to leave Stamford Bridge after nine years.

Mikel still has an active contract with Chelsea but with him not getting enough playing time under ‘The Special One’ Jose Mourinho, the Nigerian international has already made up his mind on moving, Express said. It has been reported that Mikel was in the UAE over the week and held talks with ‘The Boss’ and they seemed to have come to an agreement.

Mikel had also tweeted pictures of himself in front of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai on June 7 and was also pictured shopping on the same day. There are also two pictures from June 12 one of which is of him in the pool and captioned: “Fun fun fun, sun sun sun.”

Twitter is also rife with tweets about the midfielder with one Al Ain fan saying: “Welcome to the home of football in the UAE #AlAin” with two pictures of Al Ain celebrating their Arabian Gulf League win at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium. It has been retweeted by Mikel. Another fan just tweeted: “Welcome” with four pictures of Al Ain celebrating their League title. There are a number of tweets in the past 24 hours. Turkish club Fenerbahce too are reportedly interested in the midfielder.

Mikel’s agent Babawo Mohammed told AfricanFootball.com: “Mikel has agreed personal terms with Al Ain and it is now left for Chelsea and Al Ain to agree on a transfer fee. He has returned to England to communicate all these to Chelsea. We just have to wait and see what Chelsea say in this regard.”

Mikel made only six starts last season and came on as a substitute 12 times. Mikel, who has made 64 appearances for Nigeria, joined Chelsea from Lyn Oslo in 2006. So far, he has made 333 appearances for The Blues. If the move does materialise, Mikel will arrive with rich experience of having won the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Europa League, two EPL titles and four FA Cups. Al Ain were unavailable for comment.


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