Ex-Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel reveals why he joined Middlesbrough and what fans can expect

John Obi Mikel is looking forward to a new challenge at Middlesbrough after a lengthy conversation with Boro boss Tony Pulis.

Thursday, 24th January 2019, 11:32 am
Updated Thursday, 24th January 2019, 12:53 pm
Jon Obi Mikel has earned 85 caps for the Nigerian national side.

The former Chelsea midfielder turned down offers from other clubs to join the Teessiders on a short-term deal, and now wants to help Boro fight for promotion from the Championship.

Crystal Palace, Derby and Aston Villa were among the clubs who were linked with a move for Mikel, 31, who was available on a free transfer.

Yet the Nigerian international felt he could fit into Pulis' plans at the Riverside and is excited by the project.

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“For me it’s looking at the project,” Mikel told the club's website.

“I spoke to a few clubs and I also spoke to Tony [Pulis], had a good chat with him.

“He’s told me where he wants to go with it and it definitely fits with what I want to do.

“The club wants to get promoted so hopefully I’m here to help in any way I can.

“It’s a family club and this is what I want. I like stability and this is why I was at Chelsea for a very long time.”

Following an 11-year spell at Chelsea, Mikel has amassed an impressive CV, which includes: one Champions League title, two Premier Leagues, the Europa League, three FA Cups and a League Cup.

After leaving Chinese Super League side Tianjin TEDA in 2017, Mikel joins Boro with the intentions of playing first-team football again.

The Nigerian is best known for playing as a holding midfielder but has also played further forward for his national side, and insists he's a team player.

“We have to put our heads together and help each other,” he said.

“If anyone knows me from my years at Chelsea, I always played for the team. The team comes first and that’s exactly what I’m going to do here.

“Here is going to be a challenge, but I love challenges.”