EXCLUSIVE: Mikel set to leave Chelsea unless Conte offers him first-team footballr
John Obi Mikel could be set to leave Chelsea this summer in pursuit of regular first-team football, Goal understands.
The midfielder, who has been with the Blues since 2006, has just one-year remaining on his current deal and is yet to receive assurances about his playing time ahead of the new season.
Goal understands Mikel has spoken to inbound Chelsea boss Antonio Conte and is prepared to hold off a move away until he holds further discussions with the manager when Italy’s Euro 2016 campaign ends.
However, Mikel – who would be keen to stay at Chelsea – is considering alternative options in case Conte does not offer him what he wants.
Chelsea have a policy of only offering one-year extensions to players over 30 which means it is in the 29-year-old’s interest to renew his contract this summer to secure a longer deal.
Mikel has previously spoken about his future after Nigeria played Egypt back in March and made it clear that he does not want to sit on the bench.
“I have to play because one thing I don’t want to do is to sit on the bench like I did before,” Mikel told Goal. “Wherever it is I just want to play. When this season ends we will definitely sort out the contracts.”
The Super Eagles midfielder could also miss the start of Chelsea’s season after being in a provisional 35 man squad for the Olympic Games as one of Nigeria’s over 23 players.
Mikel is Chelsea’s second longest-serving player after John Terry and – like many of his team-mates – he suffered under Jose Mourinho’s management last season before Guus Hiddink’s temporary leadership where he flourished, playing in 24 out of 28 games under the Dutchman.
Despite not yet being formally in charge at the club, Conte has had his say over renewing Terry’s contract and he has also issued a transfer wishlist to the Chelsea hierarchy which includes Roma’s Radja Nainggolan.