Mikel began his career with local club Plateau United, before joining Norwegian club Lyn at the age of 17 in 2004. In 2006, he made a controversial transfer to English club Chelsea after Manchester United claimed they had already signed him. He stayed with Chelsea for 11 years, before moving to China with Tianjin TEDA in 2017. After two years in China, he returned to England on a short-term deal with Middlesbrough, before joining Trabzonspor on a free transfer in July 2019. In a 14-year international career between 2005 and 2019, he played 88 times for Nigeria, scoring six goals.
Rather than leaving FIFA to determine the validity of the contract signed with Manchester United, Chelsea intervened by volunteering to settle the transfer saga through negotiation with Lyn and Manchester United.
On 2 June 2006, Chelsea, Manchester United and Lyn reached a settlement to resolve the future of the player. Mikel's registration was to be transferred from Lyn to Chelsea; Manchester United agreed to terminate their option agreement with Mikel. Under the terms of this agreement, Chelsea agreed to pay United £12 million, half paid upon the finalization of the contract and the other half in June 2007, and Lyn £4 million, half payable immediately and half in June 2007. As a result of this settlement, all claims in this matter were withdrawn. On 19 July 2006, Chelsea were granted a work permit for the midfielder after they completed the £16 million signing in June 2006.
In the aftermath of the transfer, Lyn Director Morgan Andersen, who had a previous conviction for forging official documents, was convicted of fraud and making false accusations; he was given a one-year suspended jail sentence by an Oslo court. The court also ordered him to pay 20,000 kroner (£1,944) in costs. Chelsea made a High Court claim for £16 million against Lyn and Andersen following the conviction, claiming that the previously agreed settlement was not binding as "the transfer was based on a fraudulent misrepresentation, now proven by a court of law." This claim was subsequently resolved out of court.
His Chelsea Career
On 12 September 2006, Mikel made his first start for Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League against Bulgarian club Levski Sofia and took a powerful shot which the goalkeeper failed to save and Didier Drogba pounced on the rebound. Mikel received many positive comments for his performance in the match. However, since being sent off in a match against Reading on 14 October 2006, Mikel was fined on three separate occasions by Chelsea for turning up late to training.
At the time, Chelsea manager José Mourinho was believed to have strong reservations about his lifestyle outside of Stamford Bridge, and the club were reportedly considering offloading the player. Mikel was dropped for over a month, during which his father Michael voiced his concerns over his son's behaviour. After improved punctuality and showings at training sessions, Mikel earned a recall for Chelsea's Champions League group stage away game against Werder Bremen on 23 November 2006. He scored his first goal for Chelsea in their 6–1 FA Cup victory over Macclesfield Town on 6 January 2007. He also scored against Nottingham Forest in the following round of the competition. During Chelsea's triumph in the League Cup final in 2007, Mikel was sent off in injury time (having come on as a substitute) after clashing with Kolo Touré. The incident was followed by a huge fracas, in which Touré and Emmanuel Adebayor of Arsenal were sent off, Cesc Fàbregas and Frank Lampard were booked and Mourinho and Arsène Wenger were involved in an altercation on the pitch.
In subsequent games, Mourinho deployed Mikel as a starter in a holding role in key games where he impressed greatly, notably in the Chelsea–Tottenham Hotspur FA Cup sixth round replay, the Champions League quarter-final games against Valencia, the Champions League semi-final games against Liverpool and also the victorious 2007 FA Cup Final against Manchester United. Mikel's height and great strength, allied to good ball control and an unusually wide range of passing, allows him not only to disrupt opposing attacks, but also to spread the play effectively. Mikel supplanted the French midfielder Claude Makélélé in the lineup following his departure to Paris Saint-Germain.
Mikel was sent-off for the third time in his career in September 2007, when referee Mike Dean dismissed him for a tackle on Manchester United defender Patrice Evra. Chelsea appealed against the red card, but the three-match suspension was upheld.
Mikel was also sent off in the semi-final of the League Cup against Everton for a challenge on Phil Neville. Despite this, he came back strongly to round off what has been a good first two seasons for him at Chelsea.
The summer of 2008 saw veteran defensive midfielder Claude Makélélé transferred to French club Paris Saint-Germain, leaving the defensive midfield position vacant. Throughout the 2008–09 season, Mikel saw a great deal of playing time due to an injury to Michael Essien. During this period of increased action, Mikel performed admirably in the role. His ever-improving game was praised by Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari, and his importance to the team was underlined when he provided the free kick that Salomon Kalou scored to equalise against Manchester United. He played so well in 2008–09 that he was nominated for the club player and young player of the season. On 24 January 2009, Mikel was charged with drunk driving, just hours before an FA Cup game against Ipswich Town] – Mikel was not due to play in the game as he was serving a suspension. Although he had all that trouble on 22 July, Mikel signed a new five-year contract with Chelsea.
On 13 February 2010, Mikel provided a long ball for Didier Drogba to latch onto and fire past goalkeeper David Marshall as Chelsea beat Cardiff City 4–1 in the FA Cup fifth round. Mikel provided another assist for a Drogba goal in a 5–0 win over FA Cup finalists and relegated side Portsmouth on 24 March, as Chelsea cut United's lead at the top of the table to one point. Mikel played the full ninety minutes in Chelsea's 7–1 smashing of Aston Villa three days later as Chelsea kept pace in the title race with Manchester United. In their next Premier League game against United, Mikel played excellent as a marshall in midfield as Chelsea climbed above United in the table with a 2–1 win at Old Trafford, thanks to goals from Joe Cole and Drogba.
Under new manager Carlo Ancelotti, Mikel continued to perform with efficiency in his defensive midfield role, notching 35 appearances for the Blues. In May 2010, he received Premier League and FA Cup winner's medals as part of Chelsea's first ever league-cup double winning team.
Mikel and Chelsea started the new 2010–11 Premier League campaign where they left off from the 2009–10 season, playing strong defense and adding deadly finishing. Mikel played the full 90 and helped keep three clean-sheets in the first three games as Chelsea eased past West Bromwich Albion 6–0 on 14 August, crushed Wigan Athletic 6–0 at the DW Stadium seven days later and edged past Stoke City 2–0 on 28 August.
Mikel was the preferred option in defensive midfield as teammate Michael Essien spent most of the season on the sideline with knee injuries. The injury to the versatile Essien forced the club to play new signing Ramires more often in the second half of the season. Mikel featured in 28 Premier League campaigns for Chelsea as the London side finished in second place, nine points behind champions Manchester United. Following the disappointment of not winning a title, Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti was sacked by the club.
Before the start of their league campaign, Mikel's father was abducted in his native Nigeria on 10 August; despite this, Mikel started in the club's opening fixture against Stoke City at Britannia Stadium. Mikel came close to claiming his first Premier League goal for Chelsea in an inspired game as the sides played out a 0–0 draw in new coach André Villas-Boas' first game in charge.
Due to Essien's long-term knee injury, Mikel found more playing time, but around Christmas time lost his place to new signing Oriol Romeu. Following a run of disappointing fixtures, including a catastrophic 3–1 loss to Napoli in the Champions League round of 16 first leg and a 1–0 defeat to West Brom, Villas-Boas was sacked by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich. In both of these matches, Mikel was an unused substitute for the Blues. Following the appointment of former Chelsea midfielder Roberto Di Matteo as interim head coach, Mikel appeared in 16 of the club's last 20 games and started in 14 of them, and began to play some of his best football for the club.
Mikel played the full 90 minutes in Chelsea's 2–1 victory over Liverpool in the 2012 FA Cup Final on 5 May 2012, picking up a yellow card in the 36th minute. The 2011–12 Premier League campaign saw Mikel appear in 22 league fixtures, starting 15 of them, as well as playing in eight fixtures leading up to the team's appearance in the 2012 UEFA Champions League Final against Bayern Munich.
In the final in Munich on 19 May, Mikel played the full 120 minutes as the sides played out a 1–1 draw. Chelsea played a tough defensive battle and Mikel was hailed by Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp as playing an excellent game, putting in "a performance that I didn't think he had in him; he was putting out fires everywhere," as Chelsea claimed a 4–3 victory in the penalty shootout. Following his performance, Mikel told reporters that it was "best night of our lives." Mikel's strong performances in the final stages of the season and his impressive display in Munich helped Chelsea secure Champions League football next season despite finishing in sixth place, knocking London rivals Tottenham into the UEFA Europa League.
Mikel started all of Chelsea's first five games of the new 2012–13 Premier League season, and also played in the Community Shield against Manchester City and Super Cup against Atlético Madrid. In November, Mikel was named on the shortlist for the African Footballer of the Year along with former Chelsea teammate Didier Drogba.
Mikel warming up prior to a game against Roma in August 2013.
Mikel was charged with misconduct by the Football Association (FA) on 22 November 2012. He was given a three-match ban and fined £60,000 for threatening referee Mark Clattenburg during a 3–2 defeat to Manchester United.
On 5 December 2012, Mikel signed a contract extension with Chelsea, keeping him at the club until 2017.
On 21 September 2013, Mikel scored his first-ever Premier League goal in a 2–0 win against Fulham. He scored his second goal of the season in Chelsea's third round tie with Derby County on 5 January 2014, heading in the opening goal in an eventual 2–0 victory. He made his 200th Premier League appearance for Chelsea on 3 February, coming on as a late substitute in a 1–0 away victory at Manchester City.
On 30 August 2014, Mikel, who substituted Willian on the 75-minute mark, set up Diego Costa's second goal after intercepting up Muhamed Bešić's backheel pass. Chelsea went on to win 6–3 against Everton at Goodison Park. Mikel scored a rare goal against Sporting CP on 10 December in a 3–1 victory at Stamford Bridge in the 2014–15 Champions League.
Against Watford on Boxing Day 2015, in the first game of Guus Hiddink's second spell in charge, Mikel came on to become the 21st player to make 350 appearances for Chelsea. Chelsea then faced Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League round of 16. Mikel conceded a foul just outside the 18-yard box. PSG forward Zlatan Ibrahimović's free kick deflected off Mikel, who was part of the wall, and past goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. Just a few minutes later, however, Mikel equalised from a stoppage time corner kick. Due to the injuries of John Terry and Gary Cahill, Mikel had to play as a centre-back in multiple games.
On 4 November 2016, it was announced that the club would not be renewing his contract when it expired at the end of the season.
Born: 22 April 1987, Jos
Height: 1.88 m
Spouse: Olga Diyachenko
Salary: 7.28 million GBP (2017)
Current teams: Nigeria national football team (#10 / Midfielder),
Dates joined: January 2019 (Middlesbrough F.C.), 2019 (Trabzonspor),
🏆🏆🏆🏆 FA Cup
🏆🏆 Premier League
🏆 Champions League
🏆Africa Cup of Nations
🥇🥇 Chelsea Young Player of the Year
🏅 Community Shield
What a Legend.
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