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Chelsea Outcast Admits He May Have To Leave The Club In January

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 07: Juan Mata of Manchester United closes down John Mikel Obi of Chelsea during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on February 7, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Chelsea’s resurgence under new manager Antonio Conte has seen some fringe players left out in the cold.

Conte’s preference for a settled 3-4-3 formation has seen him use the same starting lineup for five consecutive games, but has also left certain players questioning their Stamford Bridge futures.

Among those is John Obi Mikel. Something of a favourite under interim manager Guus Hiddink last season, the Nigerian international has not played one second of competitive action for Chelsea since Conte’s arrival, and it appears almost certain that his Stamford Bridge career is over.

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It is a sad reality that Mikel himself is patently aware of, and the 29-year-old admitted to BBC’s World Football podcast that he may have to leave in the winter if he feels he cannot force his way into Conte’s first team plans.

Mikel said:

“I don’t want to make excuses. At the end of the day I have to keep training hard and make sure I change the manager’s mind.

“But at the end of the day if it doesn’t happen then it doesn’t happen.

“I will keep doing my best and being ready for whenever I’m called upon and then we see what happens in January. I just have to keep being professional.

“Players move on, in life you move on. Like I said, I’m very relaxed about the January transfer window, I’ll speak to te club and then we’ll find the best solution.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 02:  Mousa Dembele of Tottenham Hotspur is brought down by John Mikel Obi of Chelsea during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge on May 02, 2016 in London, England.jd  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

There were murmurings, backed up by Nigeria technical adviser Gernot Rohr, that Mikel was being “punished” for representing his country at the recent Olympic Games in Brazil, thereby missing the pre-season campaign, but these have been flatly denied by both Conte and Mikel himself.

Mikel has made over 370 appearances since joining Chelsea in a highly controversial £16m deal from Norwegian side FK Lin (via Manchester United), winning countless trophies in that time but never really nailing down a place in the starting lineup.

He will have no shortage of offers if, as expected, he leaves Stamford Bridge in the January transfer window.

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.