Why Celtic must sign fringe Chelsea man to solve problem position, six months left on contract
COMMENT By Will Butcher
Celtic should finally end their midfield dilemma by bringing in Chelsea’s John Obi Mikel.
The 29-year-old is yet to feature for Antonio Conte’s side this season, and is expected to leave Stamford Bridge in the near future with his current deal set to expire in six months’ time.
Brendan Rodgers is likely to have a list of names that he will look to in January to solve his problem position of central midfield, and Nigeria international Obi Mikel should be high on that list.
Israel international Nir Bitton was considered first choice earlier in the season, but Stuart Armstrong and Callum McGregor have since been climbed up the pecking order to partner captain Scott Brown.
Likely to be available in a cut-price deal in two weeks’ time, Chelsea star Mikel is way down the list at the London giants following the signing of Premier League champion N’Golo Kante.
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With Nemanja Matic, Cesc Fabregas and Oscar also ahead of him in the pecking order, Mikel could find that his only way to find regular first-team football again will be to leave west London.
Chelsea’s number 12 would slot in perfectly in the middle of the park next to Brown, as former Liverpool boss Rodgers continues to use a 4-2-3-1 system.
Possessing the ability to keep possession with measured ease, Obi Mikel can unlock a defence and add an extra defensive dimension to the Hoops’ back line.
However, with the African Cup of Nations coming up, Rodgers must consider if there are other options in the market before moving for the midfield ace.
Now in his 11th season with the Blues, Mikel has a wealth of domestic and European experience to his name and would play a pivotal role in Celtic’s Champions League exploits next season.
The midfielder has made a total of 372 league and cup appearances for Chelsea but is unlikely to make many more.
In other Celtic transfer news, this Premier League ace could also be on his way north to Parkhead.