When it comes to being a starter in the major leagues, John Mikel Obi has a perfect record. John Mikel Obi joined Kuwait Sporting Club in the summer when his Potters contract, which had a year left on it, was canceled by mutual consent. Stoke City manager Michael O’Neill confirmed that he had accepted to leave for a “big international opportunity.” However, after being released by the Middle Eastern club, the 34-year-old is now without a club. A tweet from Kuwait SC claimed, “Termination of the Nigerian John Obi Mikel’s contract.” and there is still no real reason as of yet.
First, let’s go back. Mikel was certain that the Super Lig should be halted or canceled before the Black Sea Storm’s top-of-the-table encounter with Istanbul Basaksehir. However, his strong views did not appear to be shared by the club’s big bosses. Furthermore, he also allegedly refused to play in a 1-1 draw with Basaksehir on March 14, leading to his departure from the club. Mikel has indicated that he will not return to Turkey and must now consider his options, but what lies ahead for the former Champions League winner?
In the weeks since his departure, Mikel’s most tangible alternative has emerged as an unusual destination, with Brazilian giants Botafogo expressing interest in his talents. The suspected interest was recognized by the Nigerian midfielder on ESPN, but he stated he had not yet made up his mind regarding his future plans. “Yes, there has been interest, and yes, there have been conversations,” the former Eagles coach admitted right away. He further added, “I’m still thinking about it. I’m still undecided.” Another Brazilian heavyweight, Internacional, is thought to be keeping an eye on the situation.
Where Could He Go From Here?
After a successful six-month loan period at Boro in the second half of 2019–20, Mikel might return to the Riverside Stadium for a second season with the Championship team. Despite the fact that Tony Pulis has departed North Yorkshire, Jonathan Woodgate has mostly maintained the 62-year-old’s 3-5-2 shape, and the Nigerian midfielder should fit in well with the formation. The fans grew to enjoy him during his previous loan spell, so the ‘African Zidane’ would like the opportunity to return to the Riverside if they show an interest in his abilities.
Bend It With Beckham?
If Mikel wants a new challenge outside of Europe, a move to Major League Soccer could be in the cards, and what better team to join than David Beckham’s Miami? Inter Miami will be competing in the top flight for the first time in their two-year history, so having an ex-Chelsea player on hand could be beneficial in their early days in the MLS. Mikel’s presence in America will help spark Nigerian interest in the league, as the former Super Eagle will be constantly monitored.
The 2012 Champions League winner might return to the Super League if a team in the league exhibits interest after two seasons with Tianjin TEDA in 2017 and 2018. Over the course of those two seasons, Mikel made 31 appearances in Asia, scoring three goals and assisting on the same number of occasions. If a transfer to a European club isn’t an option, a return to East Asia may be in the works.
Retirement or Just a Slow Down?
Mikel’s physical abilities have decreased in recent years, but a move to the Italian top division might allow him to continue playing for longer. Serie A has a different pace than other European leagues, and the tactical character of living in Italy may assist the Nigerian player. The former Chelsea midfielder’s abilities will definitely be recognized in the division, and he has a chance to play in one of Europe’s top five divisions.
Despite the fact that it would definitely generate shockwaves, particularly in the Nigerian media, the ex-Nigerian international’s choice to hang up his boots might be a feasible solution. Given the number of kilometers he’s driven since he was a youngster, this decision may not be that shocking at 33. Mikel has never been an especially athletic player, and if his physical talents diminish, he may want to retire when his contract expires.