Ex-Chelsea star John Obi Mikel, 34, signs for team in Kuwait as he rips up Stoke contract just weeks after signing deal
JOHN OBI MIKEL has signed for Kuwait SC, just weeks after triggering a contract extension at Stoke City.
The Nigerian, 34, joined Michael O'Neill's side last summer, gaining rave reviews for his performances and character.
Potters fans thought they'd get a second year out of the former Chelsea man, when he opted to renew his deal for another season.
But he has instead decided to take up an opportunity in the Middle East.
O'Neill, however, is not too disheartened, having seen the situation coming.
The Norther Irishman said: "Although John triggered the second year of his contract, we always had an agreement in place whereby we would let him leave if a significant overseas opportunity came along.
“John is a fantastic professional and was a huge presence for us last season both on and off the field, particularly with the young players in our first-team squad.
"I really enjoyed working with him and would like to take this opportunity to thank him for his contribution and wish him every success for the future."
Mikel made 41 appearances for Stoke in total, helping them to a 14th place finish last term.
The midfielder is a cult hero at Chelsea, after making 372 appearances for the Blues between 2006 and 2017.
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He helped the West Londoners to two league titles and three FA Cups in this time – as well as playing a big part in winning the Champions League in 2012.
Mikel left Stamford Bridge to join Tianjin Jinmen Tiger, then known as Tianjin TEDA, in January 2017 – before returning to England with Middlesbrough in 2019.
A season in Turkey with Trabzonspor followed, before he arrived at the Bet365 Stadium.
He will now turn out for the 16-time champions of Kuwait, signing a one-year deal.
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