11-year Chelsea stalwart talks potential heartbreak of ‘leaving home’ as Stamford Bridge exit nears

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Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel has revealed that he is ready to talk to other clubs in January if he fails to agree on a new contract with the Blues.

The 29-year-old will enter the final year of his deal in the new year and can officially begin talks with other clubs at the start of 2017 if he doesn’t agree on new terms with Chelsea.

Having struggled for playing time so far this season, the future doesn’t look particularly promising, and although he would evidently prefer to extend his stay at Stamford Bridge, he has accepted the inevitable in that he may have to consider new challenges.

Mikel has established himself as the second longest serving player in the current Chelsea squad, only behind John Terry, and although he would leave with a heavy heart, he has insisted that he will consider all of his options and make the best decision for his family.

“I have one year left [on my contract],” Mikel told Goal. “When you have a year left as a football player, you have to start planning and start thinking about what’s going to happen at the end of the season. Yes, there are going to be rumours, yes, there are going to be conversations between clubs.

“I’ve been here for a long, long time. I’ve spent 11 years of my life in this football club, it is my home. This season is the last at the club if my contract ends. I am quite relaxed about it, the future looks good.

“I am always open to a new conversation, a negotiation. But if there’s none, the future still looks bright. One day you have to move on. I think my memories here, my achievements here, are something that no one will ever take away from me.”

During his time in west London, the Nigeria international has won three Premier League titles, two FA Cups, the Europa League and the Champions League, while he has made well over 200 league appearances for the Blues as he has played a consistent role for the team since his arrival in 2006.

If this is his last season or more with Chelsea, Mikel’s experience and quality will be missed, but time will tell as to whether Antonio Conte believes he still has a key role to play for him at Chelsea moving forward.

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