Chelsea are set to sell another player to the Chinese Super League following Oscar’s exit at the end of December.
Following the Brazilian’s £60m move to Shanghai SIPG at the turn of the year, the Daily Mail and Evening Standard are both reporting on Thursday that John Obi Mikel is to undergo a medical at CSL side Tianjin TEDA ahead of signing a three-year deal with the club.
There is as yet no word on the transfer fee, though with his contract expiring in the summer it is unlikely to be that significant. Both reports do claim, however, that the Nigerian international will be given a £140,000 weekly salary.
Tianjin, managed by former Portugal international Jamie Pacheco, are very much a midtable outfit in the CSL, finishing tenth in the league last season and very much behind the likes of Guagzhou Evergrande, Jiangsu Suning and Oscar’s new club Shanghai SIPG.
The 29-year-old has not been a part of Chelsea manager Antonio Conte’s plans this season, not even making the bench for a first-team game, so a departure from Stamford Bridge in January was always likely. What was less likely, however, was the destination. Mikel had previously rejected approaches from China and with the likes of Inter, Marseille and Valencia all interested in signing him, he was expected to stay in Europe.
It seems in the end that finances won out and Mikel will become the latest player to leave Europe behind for the riches of the Chinese Super League.