John Obi Mikel‘s recent renaissance at Chelsea has caught the eye of no less than Arsene Wenger, with the Arsenal manager understood to be considering a move for the Nigerian midfielder, Caught Offside understand.
Inspired by the success of the deal for Petr Cech, when Wenger went against his typical habits and recruited an experienced, high-profile player from a fellow Premier League side, the French manager is understood to be considering a move for the West African star.
The arrival of Cech demonstrated the value of signing finished products, rather than waiting for players to mature at the Emirates Stadium, and Wenger is understood to be thawing on his erstwhile approach to the transfer market.
According to our sources, the French coach is now considering a move for Mikel, and has begun to view the Super Eagles star as the answer to his midfield problems.
The Gunners have arguably been missing an authoritative central midfielder since the departures of Patrick Vieira and Gilberto Silva, and while Francis Coquelin has suggested that he can fill the void, the midfielder’s injury risks leaving the north London side short for the title run in.
Wenger has considered moves for the likes of Mohamed Elneny [Sky Sports]—reportedly closing in on a move to the Emirates—as well as Victor Wanyama [Express] and Oguzhan Ozyakup [Milliyet via Karar], but recognises that Mikel brings elite title-winning experience that the others cannot offer.
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The Nigerian has regularly been tipped for the exit door at Stamford Bridge in recent seasons, but has caught Wenger’s eye following a recent renaissance under interim coach Guus Hiddink, with the Dutch manager installing Mikel at the heart of his team to great effect.
Caught Offside have learned that Chelsea would be willing to cash in on the player for a bid of £12 million, and that Wenger is weighing up a late transfer raid on his capital rivals.