Ex-Chelsea star fails to earn Middlesbrough deal as Tony Pulis 'does not want him'

Ex-Chelsea star John Obi Mikel wants to return to England
Ex-Chelsea star John Obi Mikel wants to return to England

Ex-Chelsea star John Obi Mikel has been denied a desired return to England after being snubbed by Middlesbrough.

The 31-year-old, who had been training with Boro, ended his 11-year stay with the Blues when he moved to Asia to join Chinese Super League club Tianjin TEDA in 2017.

In over a decade at Stamford Bridge, the midfielder lifted nine major honours, winning the Premier League twice as well as triumphs in the Champions League and Europa League.

However, Mikel's trophy-laden career was unable to earn him a deal on Teesside after a report from The Sun claimed Tony Pulis 'does not want him' after he trained with the club.

Pulis has admitted he is keen to bolster his squad, who currently lie 5th in the Championship - six points off the automatic promotion places.

That said, the attacking areas are thought to be the ex-Stoke City manager's main priority, rather than a position which is already well stocked.

Indeed, Boro's central midfielder is one of their biggest areas - with seven recognised players in that position.

Adam Clayton, Jonny Howson, George Saville and Mo Besic have been regulars this season, while Lewis Wing has broken into the first-team picture in recent months.

Mikel, who is keen on a return to England, would arguably demand a decent wage packet, too, after spending a few years in what is the mega riches of Chinese Super League.