Two years after leaving behind a legendary decade-long career at Chelsea for a spell at Chinese Super League club Tianjin TEDA, midfielder Mikel John Obi has returned to England.
The 31-year-old Hero of Munich has signed with Championship outfit Middlesbrough today, joining former Chelsea prospect George Saville in what is already a crowded midfield for manager Tony Pulis.
We're delighted to announced the signing of John Obi Mikel ✍️— Middlesbrough FC (@Boro) January 24, 2019
Welcome to #Boro, @mikel_john_obi! ⚪️
Full story ➡️ https://t.co/kJGtoXROeQ #UTB pic.twitter.com/liu1RPyufd
Mikel became a free agent this winter after his two seasons in China saw his team finish 13th and 14th, in a 16-team competition. Boro, who unsurprisingly have far and away the division’s best defense (just 20 goals conceded in 28 games, a whopping 9 less than the next best team), will probably be hoping that Mikel provides some additional leadership and competition for the likes of Mo Bešić (who incidentally gave the ball away for Mikel’s back-heel assist against Everton in 2014).
It’s not hard to see how Mikel and Pulisball could prove a fruitful combination as Middlesborough hope to make their promotion push. They currently sit fifth, just one point ahead of Frank Lampard’s Derby County, who recently brought another Chelsea legend back to England by signing Ashley Cole for the rest of the season.
Good luck to them all!