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Chelsea's Mikel joins Chinese Super League

After joining Chelsea in 2006, Mikel was part of a squad that won a Champions League crown, two Premier League titles and four FA Cups. Photograph: (Reuters)

Reuters LONDON Jan 06, 2017, 05.35 AM (IST)

 

Nigeria midfielder John Obi Mikel has become the latest big name player to join the Chinese Super League gold rush after leaving Chelsea for Tianjin Teda.

Mikel, who failed to make a single appearance for Antonio Conte's side this season, had a medical examination in the port city, 130 kilometres from Beijing as the Asian Football Confederation confirmed the deal.

The 29-year-old, who spent more than a decade at Stamford Bridge, was given a free transfer by the London club and will earn $173,432 a week in China, according to local media reports.

After joining Chelsea in 2006, Mikel was part of a squad that won a Champions League crown, two Premier League titles and four FA Cups.

Chinese clubs have made several high-profile signings over the last month with Argentine striker Carlos Tevez moving to Shanghai Shenhua for a reported $87.65 million. Less than a week later, Brazilian midfielder Oscar joined local rivals Shanghai SIPG from Chelsea. Elsewhere in Europe, Serbia midfielder Nemanja Gudelj, moved to Tianjin from Dutch club Ajax.

At the end of December, Cristiano Ronaldo's agent had said the World Player of the Year had turned down the chance to leave Real Madrid for an unnamed Chinese club for a transfer fee of $315.24 million.

Amid the spending spree, the country's General Administration of Sport described the excess of some Chinese clubs as "a grave phenomenon".

(Reuters)

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