John Obi Mikel opens up on transfer saga of a decade ago

By: Snehanjan Banerjee
John Obi Mikel

London, November 10: One of the craziest transfer sagas Football has ever seen till date is John Obi Mikel’s move to Chelsea. The Nigerian midfielder signed for Manchester United in 2005 which was hijacked by Chelsea ridiculously.

Mikel was just 15 years old and this was the start of the craziest transfer battle the we have ever witnessed.

It resulted in Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho scrapping to sign him and ended with Chelsea paying Manchester United £12million in compensation.

Mikel says Sir Alex Ferguson was furious when he informed him he was not joining Manchester United after a stunning u-turn in 2006. The Nigerian midfielder spent time on trial at Old Trafford and United struck a deal with Norwegian side Lyn to take him to the Theatre of Dreams.

Mikel even appeared with a United shirt in a press conference but he had a last-minute change of heart and opted to join Chelsea instead.

The 30-year-old spent nine years at Stamford Bridge, winning two league titles, four FA Cups and a Champions League.

Mikel had to inform Ferguson of his decision and he says the legendary Scot told him he would regret not moving to United. “It was surreal,” Mikel told The media.

“I was at school, but had Chelsea and Manchester United — two of the world’s biggest clubs — trying to sign me. I’ll never forget that second meeting with Sir Alex. I’d signed a deal at United but had to tell him: 'Sorry, I want to play for Chelsea.

“He really liked me but I could see how angry and disappointed he was.

“Some things he told me made me think about changing my mind but I was thinking about Jose, too.

“I had these two great managers wanting me and I did not know what to do. '[He said} “Why would you turn down United? It’s the biggest club in the world – you cannot do that. You have to say “yes”'

“As a footballer, you have to make decisions that you live with for the rest of your life.”

Story first published: Friday, November 10, 2017, 11:24 [IST]
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