Mikel was frozen out of the first team picture by coach of Chelsea Antonio Conte, but the captain of the Nigeria team remained a regular for the national team despite his lack of games at club level.
He decided to move to Tianjin Teda on a three year deal in order to get playing time, and despite the fact that he will be getting double his former pay in China, the 29 year old insist the move wasn’t all about money.
“I could easily have stayed in Chelsea for the remaining six months of my contract but it won’t be in the best interest of my nation, as they need me match fit when the World Cup 2018 qualifiers resume”, Mikel told Owngoalnigeria.com.
It wasn’t an easy decision to make but I seriously need matches to stay fit for Nigeria. Nigerians don’t deserve to miss out of the World Cup after back to back failure to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations”.