Nigeria captain John Mikel Obi has made a switch from the English Premier League to the Chinese Super League to join Tianjin TEDA.
In expressing frustration at little playing time at Chelsea this season, Mikel said “now is the time to seek a new challenge”.
The 2013 Africa Cup of Nations winner joined Chelsea in 2006 from Norwegian side FK Lyn in one of the controversial transfer deals in football, having initially been said to have signed for Manchester United.
In a letter to Chelsea fans posted on Twitter, Mikel expressed delight at the move “at a time that the Chinese Super League is really taking off, and I look forward to helping Tianjin TEDA FC continue to grow”.
A letter to my Chelsea family. 🔵⚪️ pic.twitter.com/FhcUyq3iaV
— Mikel John Obi (@mikel_john_obi) January 6, 2017
With Chelsea, Mikel won the English Premier League twice, the FA Cup four times, the League Cup twice and the Community Shield once in 2009.
He was also a member of the Chelsea side that won the UEFA Champions League in 2012 and the UEFA Europa League the next year.
“To play in the Premier League is every professional player’s ambition.
“But to play for Chelsea, to become part of the Chelsea family to work with some of the best managers and players in the world, has truly been an honour.”
Chelsea has also confirmed the move, which becomes the second for a Blues player in the same direction after Oscar’s.
“He leaves with our very best wishes and we thank him for his exceptional service,” Chelsea said in a statement on its website.
Mikel moves on a free transfer but he is expected to earn £140,000 per week.
By Emmanuel kwame Amoh|3news.com|Ghana