FORMER Super Eagles skipper Mikel Obi’s arrival in London as a member of the Chelsea coaching staff making happen sooner than expected after he terminated his contract with his Turkish club Trabzonspor by mutual consent.
This season, Mikel, 33, who spent 10 and a half years at Chelsea, becoming one of their longest-serving players, has been playing for Trabzonspor who are battling for the Turkish league title, As a reward for his dedicated service and loyalty, the Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has offered Mikel the opportunity to join the club’s coaching crew when he decides to hang his boots up.
At the moment all of the Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard’s backroom staff are former players of the club and even the youth teams is coached by ex-players. Mikel’s former teammate Petr Cech is a director at the club, although Chelsea failed in their bid to lure Didier Drogba and Claude Makalele to join Lampard when he was appointed coach in the summer.
To join them, Mikel would either have to terminate his contract with Trabzonspor or Chelsea would have to buy it out. Yesterday, the matter resolved itself as the two sides agreed to terminate the contract by mutual consent.
Although no reason was given for the termination of the agreement, Mikel had criticized the decision of the Turkish Football Federation not to postpone the Super Lig in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Last Sunday, Mikel was an unused substitute as Trabzonspor were held to a 1-1 draw by Istanbul Basaksehir, which was an obvious sign that all was not well between club and player.
Last month, Mikel was also involved in a high profile clash, nearly punching Turkish player Emre Belozoglu who used racist language on him, calling him a Nigger during a heated league match. After the game, Mikel confronted the former Newcastle and Inter Milan player Emre and had to be restrained by team mates.
Mikel leaves Trabzonspor after making 27 appearances in all competitions, including five in the group stage and qualifying rounds of the Europa League. While at the club, he was on a salary of €1.5m per season.