Chelsea’s John Obi Mikel is currently being linked with a high profile move to Inter Milan and there’s a very good reason that the Blues should consider letting him leave at the end of the season.
The arrival of Nemanja Matic from Benfica has pushed Mikel down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge and while he remains a very good holding player, he’s likely to want a greater volume of first team football than Jose Mourinho can give him.
“Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel could be set to end his eight-year stay at Stamford Bridge, with Inter Milan lining him up for a summer move to Italy,” writes Alex Richards in the Mirror.
If Mikel pushes for a move to the Serie A giants then Chelsea can use it to their advantage in terms of trying to sign key defender Andrea Ranocchia.
The centre back has been linked with the Blues before and has also attracted the reported interest of London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur as well as Premier League champions Manchester United.
Ranocchia would provide Chelsea with a top quality centre back able to partner Gary Cahill, John Terry or David Luiz but most significantly, he’d represent someone who can replace Terry over the next few years.
Ranocchia has one-year left to run on his contract at Inter Milan after this season and with Mikel’s deal not due to expire until 2017, the Italian side could see it as a good piece of business with Mikel likely to be more expensive in a straight up cash deal.
Chelsea are well stocked in terms of holding midfield with Matic looking like he could become a Blues icon in that position, supported by other players who can fill in there.
Ranocchia’s arrival may even release David Luiz to go and convert himself into a holding midfielder which is something he’s looked keen to do ever since he was first used in that role by Rafael Benitez.
It’s definitely a story worth keeping an eye on but Mourinho would be foolish not to try and secure himself a player who could take care of his million dollar question; how do I replace Terry when he retires?
image: © Ronnie Macdonald