Thursday, November 16, 2023 – Former Super Eagles captain, Obi Mikel has lifted the lid on how he ended up at Chelsea despite his official unveiling as a Manchester United player.
Manchester United were the first team to express an interest in the signature of Mikel after he impressed their scouts at the UEFA-CAF Meridian Cup in Egypt, and he was invited to train at Carrington before the 2003 FIFA U17 World Cup.
The 2013 Africa Cup of Nations winner had been a player for the Norwegian club, Lyn Oslo, from where he would move to England.
The defensive midfielder admitted that he signed a pre-contract with Manchester United but Chelsea eventually beat the Red Devils to his signature due to their monetary offer.
In an interview with FIVE, Mikel revealed how he ditched the Red Devils to join the Blues.
” I must say the money was big, obviously living in London and I spoke to Roman as well, I spoke to Jose and were like ‘we will leave the contract open for you, we will discuss the money, just make sure you come to Chelsea’ and that was why when I went back home, my agent called me and was like we have to switch. he said
” He took me to Norway and that was where I was and I played the first game for the club and that was when United came back with a contract and Ferguson flew to Norway as well to see me and I felt, you know what, I am gonna sign for United, why not?
” I did sign a pre-contract for United but it wasn’t a professional contract, you have to be 18, coming from Africa, you have to be 18 before you will be able to sign a professional contract, so I wasn’t 18 then, so I signed a pre-contract.
“Chelsea saw the image, picture, the press conference and Roman was like ‘I am not having this’ so he sent my agent, people to Norway”.
The former African Footballer of the Year nominee went on to have a successful career with Chelsea, winning several titles including the Premier League, UEFA Champions League and Europa League.
He left the London-based side in 2017 to join Chinese outfit Tianjin Teda.