Having won the Premier League, the Champions League, the Europa League and four FA Cups in his time at Chelsea, John Obi Mikel will never regret the decision to move to Stamford Bridge in2006, but as he stands apparently on the verge of leaving, he might wonder what would have happened if he had move to Manchester United instead.
The controversy over his transfer is still somewhat unresolved, and Manchester United will have watched Mikel’s development, or indeed lack of it, at Chelsea without too much frustration at missing out on the midfielder, but as Mikel demonstrated again with Nigeria last night in the Confederations Cup, there is more to his game than has been shown at Stamford Bridge.
With Chelsea Mikel is confined to playing a defensive role in their midfield, but he arrived at the Blues as one of the most exciting young complete midfielders in the world, and he still shows that talent when playing for Nigeria.
His goal against Uruguay was superb, but his all-round performances for Nigeria as they won the African Cup of Nations in January are a better indication of the player Mikel can be, and with Chelsea apparently ready to let him leave this summer, there should be other teams challenging Galatasaray for his signature.
Manchester United are highly unlikely to be among them, but it is not ridiculous to suggest that Mikel is the kind of player the need. David Moyes is keen to sign a dominant midfield presence to play alongside Michael Carrick, and Mikel, based on his performances for Nigeria, could fulfil that role.
The midfielder is still only 26, and there is time for him to deliver his very best at club level as well as on the international stage, and whilst it is unlikely that this will happen in the Premier League, it would be interesting to see Mikel unleashed at an English side, as he is a better player than he has so far shown at Chelsea.
image: © Ben Sutherland