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Key areas Chelsea star was outclassed by £60m transfer target

How did John Obi Mikel stack up against the player Chelsea would love to replace him with in Paul Pogba?

Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba has every rich football club in the world watching his every performance at the World Cup, and Chelsea are no different.

Despite his agent's assertions he will be staying at Juventus, the Blues were this weekend linked with a £60 million record bid for his signature.

The man he would have stood to replace in Chelsea's midfield is surely John Obi Mikel, picked from the start just 11 times last season in the Premier League.

Pogba and Mikel even went head to head yesterday in the World Cup, as France took on Nigeria in the second round.

It was the Frenchman who took the plaudits, heading home the goal to break the deadlock in the 2-0 win before a late Joseph Yobo own goal sealed France's victory.

But how far behind Mikel was he, in his performance compared to the French wonderkid?


  TeamGoalsTotal Scoring AttPass Accuracy %Successful Final Third PassesFwd Key Passes Mins
Paul Pogba France 1 3 80.70 11 20 0 90
John Obi Mikel Nigeria 0 0 85.71 13 18 2 90

Pogba's goal clearly puts him above Mikel in terms of affecting the game, and predictably the normally defensive minded Chelsea man did not even register an attempt.

Mikel did however create two goalscoring opportunities for his teammates, with Pogba failing to provide any key passes. The Nigerian midfielder also made more successful passes in the final third of the pitch, and recorded a superior pass accuracy.


  TeamBall RecoveryAerial WonWon TackleInterception WonDispossessedMins
Paul Pogba France 11 1 0 0 0 90
John Obi Mikel Nigeria 1 2 1 0 3 90

There is one area in which Pogba stands head and shoulders above Mikel, illustrating his usefulness to the French side. He won the ball back 11 times for Les Bleus, compared to Mikel's one. That's an embarrassingly one-sided statistic, but an anomaly in comparison to other areas.

Mikel narrowly won more tackles (1-0), and won more aerial duels than Pogba, while neither managed any interceptions. In terms of retaining possession, Pogba was however immaculate, with Mikel dispossessed three times.

The Nigeria midfielder certainly was not embarrassed by Pogba, and outdid the Frenchman from a creative perspective. However there were certainly areas in which he was outperformed.

Mikel's failure to register a shot at goal typified why Chelsea want to upgrade his position to a player who simply offers more, and Pogba's ability to hold onto the ball and recover it with his athleticism is clearly superior.

At only 21, the fact he is only going to get better makes him even more of an exciting footballer to have in your side, and Manchester United must rue the day they let him slip through their fingers.

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