English Premiership

Mikel set to make January decision

John Obi Mikel (AFP)
John Obi Mikel (AFP)

Cape Town - John Obi Mikel has reiterated his intention to weigh up his Chelsea future when the mid-season transfer window opens in the new year.

The 29-year-old midfielder was been one of the few constants at Stamford Bridge for the past decade when both managers and players were coming and going.

Mikel seemed to fall out of favour with Jose Mourinho at the start of last season, but was firmly in Guus Hiddink's plans for the second half of the campaign after his predecessor was sacked.

However, the Nigeria international has not featured for new Blues boss Antonio Conte at all this term, and says he will be forced to look elsewhere for first-team football in January if his situation remains unchanged.

"We will wait and see what happens in January. For the first time in my career, this is happening to me and I have to stand up and deal with it," Mikel told ESPN FC.

"It is what it is but I'm training hard every day and I always wish the team the best and I am happy we are doing well. I've been at Chelsea a long time.

"Managers come and go, players come and go. I've been at Chelsea a long time and these things happen in football. So we will have to make that decision when January comes."

Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr believes his skipper is paying the price for representing his country at the Olympic Games in Rio during the off-season.

But Rohr will continue to select Mikel, who recently surpassed Jay-Jay Okocha as the country's fifth-most capped player, as long as he proves himself worthy in training.

"He is being punished for deciding to go to the Olympics for Nigeria," the German said. "He is training well and doing well for us. I cannot punish him for deciding to make a sacrifice for Nigeria."

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