Conte says Mikel is free to leave in January
Chelsea Manager, Antonio Conte, has reportedly told the club’s current second longest serving player, John Mikel Obi, that he is free to leave the club in January.
Mikel is still waiting for his first competitive appearance for Chelsea under Conte, but it appears he will stay frozen out of the team as he doesn’t feature in the plans of the coach.
Super Eagles’ Coach, Gernot Rohr, met with Chelsea’s Technical Director, Mike Emenalo yesterday, who revealed to Rohr that Mikel is not in the plans of the Italian manager, reports owngoalnigeria.com.
“Talks were held between Mikel and the manager. As for now, he has been told he can leave in January, mind you his contract is set to expire in the summer,” a source close to the midfielder said.
“There’s every possibility for him to leave Chelsea either on loan or permanently in January. But the summer looks more likely. Every story must have an end. After 11 seasons, Mikel wants to move on and so too Chelsea,” the source added.
Meanwhile, Conte has explained why he named Nigerian defender, Ola Aina and England U21 star, Nathaniel Chalobah, in the starting XI against West Ham in the League Cup on Wednesday night.
Despite the 2-1 loss to the Hammers, the Italian manager reckons that his number 34 gave a good account of himself, adding that he wanted to run the rule over the wing-back in a competitive fixture.
“I prefer to speak always about the whole team but I think this cup is very important to check the development of these young players,” Conte told chelseafc.com.
“We have good young players and they need to play. I think the youngsters played a good game with the right intensity and concentration.
“When you lose it’s normal to see bad things but tonight I found a lot of positives.”
Ola Aina started Chelsea’s 3-2 win over Bristol Rovers in August and was a non-playing substitute versus Leicester City in the League Cup last month.