Besiktas are set to offer Chelsea €5m for the services of midfielder Mikel Obi, reports in the Turkish media have stated.
The Turkish giants had failed in an earlier bid to sign Mikel but have now returned to make another offer for the Nigerian, and are hopeful of sealing a deal, before the end of the transfer window.
Mikel has played fringe roles in Chelsea in recent seasons, and it doesn’t look like changing this term. The UEFA Champions League winner is yet to play a match for the Blues this season, sitting on the bench for the opening two league games and the Community Shield clash against Arsenal.
The arrival of Serbian Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona has seen Mikel drop lower in the pecking order, with the Nigerian now playing behind Ramires and Kurt Zouma. He is in danger of falling further down the pecking order, if youngster Ruben Loftus-Cheek breaks into the first team.
Besiktas are offering Mikel first team football but a substantial pay cut if he decides to make the move.
Former international Edema Fuludu, who also played professionally in Turkey, said the deal would be good for Mikel, adding that the player should consider regular football ahead of financial benefit.
He said, “His (Mikel’s) pay may not be as good as what he is earning in Chelsea if he joins Besiktas, but it will help his career. Mikel has spent considerable years in Chelsea but he’s not been consistently playing first team football.
“Besiktas play in the Champions League, so they are a big side too. It will help Mikel’s career if he joins them. Several good players have left big clubs to play for smaller clubs and then revive their careers.”
Mikel was earlier offered a lucrative deal to join United Arab Emirates side Al Ain this summer and was also targeted by Besiktas rivals, Fenerbahce, but the Turkish club were scared off by Chelsea’s £10.5m asking price.
The player has also confirmed he wants to stay at Stamford Bridge and see out the remaining two years left on his contract. Blues manager Jose Mourinhosaid he wants him to remain at the club.
Mikel said, “I have two years left on my contract here and want to see them out. I am happy here and we will see what happens. I do want to stay, the manager wants me to stay so I don’t have any issues.”
Former Nigeria women’s international, Maureen Mmadu, has said the Super Falcons need to put the disappointment of not qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Games behind them and focus on winning the gold medal at the forthcoming All Africa Games in Congo.
The Falcons missed out on the Olympic qualification ticket for the second consecutive time when they lost 3-2 on aggregate to Equatorial Guinea in their qualifying match.
But Mmadu believes that the team has what it takes to win the gold despite the threats from the other teams.
Nigeria is in Group A of the eight-team competition alongside Congo, Tanzania and Ivory Coast while Cameroon, Ghana, South Africa and Egypt are in the second group.
“It’s sad that Nigeria will not be at the Olympics next year,” Mmadu said.
“But there is nothing we can do now. We just have to work harder and focus on the competition ahead.
“I think we have the players can do the job to us. What they need is to focus on the task at hand and make sure they are not distracted with other things.”
She reiterated her call for a technically sound coach to handle the team as the team lacked in technical areas.
She said, “I watched the World Cup and saw that we have talented players but we need to play fast and collective football when attacking and defending too.
“The players seem to presently play as individuals, which is not good for the team. We also need to read our opponent and work on their weak side too.
“We should also know when to attack as a team and when to defend as a team not defending singly.”
Super Eagles coach, Sunday Oliseh, on Monday shockingly excluded Watford striker, Odion Ighalo, and Chelsea’s Victor Moses from his list of 18 overseas-based players invited for next month’s 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Tanzania.
The 18 overseas-based players are expected to arrive in the Eagles’ camp in Abuja on Monday, August 31, ahead of the match billed for Dar es Salaam on September 5. They will join the 23 home-based players, who arrived in camp on Monday.
Ighalo is one of the most potent strikers in England in the last one year, scoring 20 goals last season to help Watford return to the English Premier League, and then scoring on his debut, against Everton, in the EPL. The former Udinese man also scored in the Eagles’ 2-0 defeat of Chad in an AFCON qualifier in Kaduna in June.
Oliseh left out Chelsea forward Moses, who had a nice time on loan at Stoke City, before impressing in pre-season with the Blues, but handed surprise first call-ups to Russia-based duo of Sylvester Igbonu (FC Ufa) and Izunna Uzochukwu (Amkar Perm), as well as 29-year-old Wolverhampton Wanderers goalkeeper Carl Ikeme.
In-form Esperance striker, Emem Eduok, who scored on his international debut in November last year, and 20-year-old Gent forward, Moses Simon, who made his debut in a friendly game against Uganda in May, returned to the squad.
Captain of the 2007 U-17 World Cup-winning Golden Eaglets, Haruna Lukman, who last played for the Eagles at the 2010 World Cup, also got an opportunity to revive his international career. His teammate at cadet level, Rabiu Ibrahim, who returned to the Eagles in the match against Chad, after a long time out in the international wilderness, made the team alongside Torino midfielder Joel Obi, Al Ain striker Emmanuel Emenike and Anthony Ujah, the Werder Bremen forward.
But missing out is Chelsea midfielder Obi Mikel, Brown Ideye (West Bromwich Albion), and Elderson Echiejile (Monaco). The trio has not been consistent for their clubs recently and their exclusion may not come as a surprise, as Oliseh had warned that benchwarmers would not be a part of his team.
Lazio’s Ogenyi Onazi misses the tie after he was handed a two-match ban by CAF for his red card in the game against Chad.
Goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama made the list alongside defenders Leon Balogun, Godfrey Oboabona and Kenneth Omeruo.
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