Another Chelsea Legend Set To Leave The Club!
Posted by Daniele Accurso | Published on November 4, 2016
When you ask the question, ‘Can you name me Chelsea legends in recent times?’ most will offer the generic answers including Chelsea fans; Didier Drogba, Petr Cech, John Terry and Frank Lampard. In the past few seasons, the ‘old guard’, as they had been referred to had been decreasing at the club, with many thinking Terry is the only member of that prestigious group left. In my opinion however, there are two Chelsea stalwarts still at the club, with that number set to lower once more at the end of this season. News came out a week or so ago that John Obi Mikel had been told by Conte to leave the club in January, in order to ply his trade elsewhere. Today, it’s been reported by the Evening Standard that Mikel won’t be having his contract renewed under the Italian, making this his last season at the Bridge, ending his decade long service at the club.
Mikel was always going to have found it hard under Conte it seems. In the summer when everyone had reported for pre season in Austria and then America, the Nigerian was playing for his country at the Olympics in Brazil (winning a Bronze medal!). Thus straight from the off, Mikel was behind his team mates time wise, in trying to impress Conte. Whats more, in this new 3-4-3 formation with two centre midfielders, Conte likes these two CM’s to be technically able to drive with the ball and pick a pass. Kante has found a new dimension to his game whilst Nemanja Matic looks like the midfielder of two season back when the blues won the double. Kante’s goal against Manchester United sums up how Conte wants his central mids to play. But can you imagine Mikel doing that run with the ball past Pogba and Smalling?
The fans appreciation for Mikel can be best symbolised by with marmite. You either love him or hate him. As someone who may not be the best on the ball, he can be frustrating at times but what he does best is breaking up play. Last season under Hiddink, he showed what he can do. After being somewhat neglected by Jose for two seasons and a bit, he came straight into the side for Matic and enabled Fabregas to be free once again and dictate play. To use the cliche, for Mikel, he does what it says on the tin! Having scored a total of four goals in 378 appearances at the club since joining from Norwegian side Lyn in 2006, Mikel will be remembered for his defensive antics rather than his attacking prowess, which led the club to numerous trophies.
During this decade, Mikel won it all; 2 Premier League titles, 4 FA cups, 2 League cups, 1 community shield, 1 Europa League and the most coveted prize in club football, the Champions League in 2012. Mikel was a fundamental part of Roberto Di Matteo’s side which went on to win the champions league; having started both legs against Benfica and Barcelona in the quarter finals and semi-finals respectively, and then the final against Bayern Munich. Being part of that journey will forever keep Mikel in Chelsea fans hearts whether you liked his style of play or not. The Nigerian has had difficult periods during his time at the club, playing second fiddle to Ramires, Essien and more recently Matic however, he still always got on with his job and when called back into the starting 11, he would play like he hadn’t missed a game. A man who has been nicknamed, ‘The African Zidane’ by the Chelsea faithful, will be given a rousing reception come the end of the season. Mikel’s departure marks the end of another legend parting the club, now leaving John Terry as the only stalwart left!