ENGLISH Championship side Stoke City have joined the race to sign former Super Eagles skipper Mikel Obi as the demand for his services intensifies in the run-up to the start of the 2020/21 season.
Mikel, 33, is currently a free agent after parting company with Turkish club Trabzonspor in March following a dispute over the coronavirus pandemic. In 2006, Mikel joined Chelsea where he played for 11 years before moving to China with Tianjin Teda in 2017.
After two years in China, he returned to England on a short-term deal with Middlesboro, before joining Trabzonspor on a free transfer in July 2019. During a 14-year international career between 2005 and 2019, Mikel played 88 times for Nigeria, scoring six goals.
Newly-promoted Premier League side West Bromwich Albion (WBA), have already indicated an interest in Mikel, as have several other clubs across Europe, including Italian outfit Benevento, who have just made it to Serie A. Stoke City manager Michael O’Neil is keen on bringing in a holding midfielder as his side seeks a return to the Premier League and Mikel could be a leading contender.
A vastly experienced player with more than 350 appearances for Chelsea, Mikel won multiple titles during his time with the Blues. It has been reported that as a reward for his dedicated service and loyalty, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has offered Mikel the opportunity to join the club’s coaching crew when he decides to hang his boots up.