English Premiership

Mikel nears Valencia switch

STALWART:  John Obi Mikel of Chelsea is one of the most decorated players in the Premier League. (Julian Finney, Getty Images)
STALWART: John Obi Mikel of Chelsea is one of the most decorated players in the Premier League. (Julian Finney, Getty Images)

Cape Town - Super Eagles captain, Mikel John Obi has agreed a deal in principle to join Valencia from English club, Chelsea according several sections of the Spanish and English media.

If the midfielder eventually puts pen to paper for the Spanish club, it will bring to an end, a 10-year spell in west London.

The move however hinges on the future of West Ham striker Simone Zaza.

Valencia must now make a big decision as Financial Fair Play (FFP) restrictions mean that they will not be able to afford to sign both Mikel and top target Zaza simultaneously this month.

Italian international Zaza has been a complete flop with West Ham since arriving on loan from Juventus in the summer, and was all set to move to Valencia this month at the request of head coach Cesare Prandelli.

But after the former Italy boss quit this week after issuing an ultimatum over five new January signings that he coveted, the Zaza deal is now on ice as club owner Peter Lim and sporting director Pitarch decide on where to focus their resources.

Mikel, who boasts 78 caps in international football, has found himself frozen out by new Blues boss Antonio Conte as league-leading Chelsea evolved their style under the Italian coach.

And after failing to make a single Premier League appearance this season, Mikel has agreed the outline details of a move to Mestalla after meeting with Valencia's sporting director, Jesus Garcia Pitarch, in London.

Mikel, meanwhile, is also being chased by Ligue 1 side Olympique Marseille and clubs from the Chinese Super League but is understood to prefer a La Liga move.

The 29-year-old joined Chelsea in 2006 in a protracted and controversial transfer, having initially signed a deal with Manchester United. The Blues ended up paying United £12 million for the midfielder, plus £4 million to Norwegian side Lyn Oslo.

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