Middlesbrough complete signing of ex-Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel

Middlesbrough have completed the signing of former Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel.

By Joe Nicholson
Thursday, 24 January, 2019, 10:19
Jon Obi Mikel playing for Chelsea.

The Nigerian international, 31, was available on a free transfer after leaving Chinese Super League side Tianjin TEDA in 2017 and will join Boro on a short-term deal.

Mikel spent 11 years at Chelsea, where he won one Champions League title, two Premier Leagues, the Europa League, three FA Cups and the League Cup.

He has also earned 85 caps for Nigeria but hasn't played competitive football since representing his country at the 2018 World Cup.

The midfielder becomes Boro's second signing of the transfer window, following the loan arrival of winger Rajiv van La Parra from Huddersfield.

Mikel had held numerous talks at Rockliffe training ground this week and underwent his medical on Tuesday.

He then returned to Teesside this morning to complete the move.

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Despite his lack of game time, Mikel is said to be eager to play first-team football again, which is one of the major reasons he chose to sign for Boro.

Crystal Palace were reportedly interested, as were Boro's promotion rivals Aston Villa and Derby, but the Nigerian opted to move to Teesside instead.

Mikel is unlikely to make his Boro debut this weekend when Tony Pulis' side host Newport in the FA Cup, as he is still awaiting international clearance.

Boro must also apply for a work permit, which shouldn't be an issue due to his playing days at Chelsea and international record.

Speaking to MFC.com, Pulis said: "I'm pleased to get him in. He is a man with a lot of experience and quality.

"He has a winning mentality and he wants to be here be a part of what we are looking to achieve."