Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel is on the verge of becoming the latest Premier League name to join Chinese Super League side Tianjin TEDA after undergoing a medical on Thursday – according to the Evening Standard.
The news comes somewhat as a surprise after it had been reported that Mikel was expected to snub the Far East in favour of remaining in Europe.
The Nigerian was thought to have had reservations about playing in the CSL, citing the strain it would place on his family as a stumbling block.
But the midfielder, who has not appeared in Chelsea colours under Antonio Conte, is understood have undergone a medical with his new club on Thursday, according to 90min.
Stamford Bridge has been his home since 2006, but he will now leave the Premier League to pick up a new £140k-a-week deal at his new club.
The player had reportedly interested Marseille, Valencia and Inter Milan in the run up to the transfer window, but it appears the astronomical wage offer was simply too good to turn down for the 29-year-old.
Mikel becomes the third Chelsea player to join the Chinese revolution directly, after Ramires in the same window last year, and most recently Oscar for a staggering £52m.
Demba Ba, who also played for Chelsea, joined Shanghai Shenhua in 2015 after a short spell at Turkish club Besiktas whom he joined from the Blues in 2014.
Mikel’s move to Tiajin is likely to be greeted with mixed opinions by fans and experts, with arguments for and against the move. Earning £140k-a-week more than doubles his Chelsea weekly wage and at 29, could he really have turned it down?
On the flip side, if Mikel wanted to remain competitive and add to his own personal trophy cabinet as was reported, he has surely ruined any chance of that now, given the reputation of the CSL.