Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is allegedly looking for a reunion with his former Chelsea charge Mikel John Obi this January, in a move that would undoubtedly shock English football were it to become an unlikely reality when the transfer market re-opens, 90min reports.
The Sun is responsible for the very bold claim, which suggests that Mourinho will try and tempt Mikel to Old Trafford in a bid to strengthen his midfield and better protect a faltering back four.
The Nigerian international, who is yet to feature for Chelsea at all this season after delaying his start to the campaign to participate in the Olympic games with his country, is out of contract in the summer and could be available for a cut-price deal worth as little as £2m.
Mikel was merely a back-up player for Mourinho during his last full season at Chelsea in 2014/15, playing just 18 times as Chelsea lifted the Premier League title. It therefore makes it all the more surprising that the Portuguese would suddenly identify him as the solution to United’s current woes.
If true, Mourinho also appears to be snubbing Morgan Schneiderlin, who seems to have been even further from selection than Bastian Schweinsteiger in the last couple of weeks. The Frenchman is so out of favour that Schweinsteiger is rumoured to be in line to return from exile in the EFL Cup quarter-final on Wednesday ahead of him.
It was only last week that Mikel – who claims he has no regrets about losing an early chance to impress Antonio Conte in the summer and wouldn’t trade his Olympic bronze medal for anything – admitted he may leave Stamford Bridge in January.
“A new manager coming in was probably upset that I left for the Olympics and probably thinks I don’t care about the team, but I don’t want to use things like that as excuses,” he told BBC World Service.
“At the end of the day I have to keep training hard to try and change the manager’s mind. If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen. I will keep doing my best and keep being ready for whenever I’m called upon and then we’ll see what happens in January.”
United of course already have their own history with Mikel after believing that they had successfully signed him from Lyn Oslo in 2006, only for Chelsea to contest the transfer because of a prior agreement they claimed to have with the then teenager’s agents.