Obi Mikel signs up for Tianjin Teda in Chinese Super League

Nigeria midfielder John Obi Mikel has become the latest big name player to join the Chinese Super League after leaving Chelsea for Tianjin Teda.

John Obi Mikel joined Chelsea in 2006.   -  Getty Images

Nigeria midfielder John Obi Mikel has become the latest big name player to join the Chinese Super League gold rush after leaving Chelsea for Tianjin Teda. Mikel, who failed to make a single appearance for Antonio Conte's side this season, had a medical in the port city some 130 kilometres from Beijing on Thursday and the Asian Football Confederation confirmed the deal on Friday.

The 29-year-old, who spent more than a decade at Stamford Bridge, was given a free transfer by the London club and will earn 140,000 pounds (USD 173,432) a week in China, according to local media reports. After joining Chelsea in 2006, Mikel was part of a squad that won a Champions League crown, two Premier League titles and four FA Cups.

Chinese clubs have made several high-profile signings over the last month with Argentine striker Carlos Tevez > moving to Shanghai Shenhua for a reported EUR 84 million (USD 87.65 million).

Less than a week later, Brazilian midfielder Oscar joined local rival Shanghai SIPG from Chelsea in a deal believed to be worth 60 million euros. At the end of December, Cristiano Ronaldo's agent said the World Player of the Year had turned down the chance to leave Real Madrid for an unnamed Chinese club for a transfer fee of EUR 300 million (USD 315.24 million).

Amid the spending spree, the country's General Administration of Sport described the excess of some Chinese clubs as “a grave phenomenon” on Thursday. Mikel joins Serbia midfielder Nemanja Gudelj, who moved to Tianjin from Dutch club Ajax on Thursday.

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