This season has been a very strange one for Middlesbrough fans. The Teessiders have been a side that score and concede in minimal amounts, and as they’ve recently come off of a run of six straight defeats they need to start scoring a lot more if they want to rescue their playoff hopes. One man who could be key to that is John Obi Mikel, who provides defensive stability as they go forward.
The Nigerian midfielder made a name for himself at Chelsea, and despite spending ten and a half seasons with the Blues, he is still only 31-years-old. A short spell in China fell inbetween Mikel’s time at Chelsea and Middlesbrough, and even though he’s only been at the club a few months having signed back in January, he’s made a big impact on the fans.
John Obi Mikel’s time at Middlesbrough has been impressive, and whilst he’s doing a great job, it could prove that his spell in the Northeast is short but sweet, even if the Boro fans want the midfielder to stick around. The role that he plays, though, doesn’t require his legs to stay with him late into his thirties, and there’s little doubt that the Nigerian could still do a job in the Premier League.
Adding the experience of Mikel to a bottom-half Premier League team would be a huge addition. Had a team like Fulham shown the insight that Tony Pulis did in January and brought the ex-Chelsea midfielder to Craven Cottage then they would have had a much better chance of staying up this season. Instead, they’ve gone down and now Mikel will end the season as part of a meagre Championship side in Boro.
Middlesbrough fans won’t want to see the Nigerian midfielder, who is valued at £3.15 million (by Transfermarkt), leave the club, yet it would show an intense lack of ambition for Mikel, a former Champions League winner, to stay at a club like Boro. The Riverside Stadium is a place with little life at the moment owing to Pulis-ball, and the only bright move that he’s made in 2019 has been to bring in Mikel over the winter transfer window.
As far as Mikel’s concerned, a move away from Boro has to be on the cards. Their defensive nature under Pulis makes him a good fit for them, but the midfield anchor would be a quality addition to any side that wins promotion this season, adding top-flight experience and a defensive mindset to a new top-flight side, with Norwich or Leeds being good options for the Boro man.
Boro fans, what do you think the future holds for John Obi Mikel? Join the discussion by commenting below…
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