According to The Guardian, Middlesbrough have agreed terms with former Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel (at the time of writing).
The Nigeria international has been with Chinese Super League outfit Tianjin TEDA for the past two years, but has attracted the interest of Boro.
The 31-year-old played almost 400 games for Chelsea over 11 seasons, winning two Premier Leagues, three FA Cups, a League Cup, the Champions League and the Europa League, and would undoubtedly bring an immeasurable amount of experience to the heart of the midfield in the northeast.
Mikel will bring a huge amount of defensive solidity to Tony Pulis’ team as well, and looks to be a player that would suit the Welshman down to the ground. In 249 Premier League games Mikel managed only one goal and ten assists; he is clearly not a creative midfielder. However, he averaged over two tackles a game, and more than one interception and clearance a game.
From Middlesbrough’s perspective, however, bringing another defensive midfielder to the club is like bringing coal to Newcastle. Boro have never be criticised this season for not being defensively strong- far from it. It has been their attack that has let them down. Boro have only conceded 20 goals this season, nine fewer than any other team. Meanwhile, despite being in fifth place in the Championship, only a staggering four teams have scored fewer goals than them this season, which is quite alarming.
Therefore, while Mikel would undoubtedly be a great addition to Middlesbrough this season, there is the feeling that it is not what the club need right now.
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