Chelsea midfielder the perfect plug for Stoke’s leaky defence

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Stoke to stay up this season

John Obi Mikel’s Chelsea career could be coming to an end, as the Nigerian admitted he may need to look for a new club as his contract at Stamford Bridge winds down.

The midfielder has not seen a single minute of competitive action since Antonio Conte arrived at the west London club, despite making 33 appearances for the Blues last season.

With his contract due to expire this season, Mikel has admitted he will talk to new clubs as part of his preparations to leave Chelsea, which should be music to the ears of Mark Hughes and Stoke City.

The Potters have had a torrid time at the start of this season, having collected just one point in five games to sit bottom of the Premier League with the worst defensive record.

A major factor in that slide has been a lack of protection in central midfield, something that Mikel has made his forte across 372 appearances for the 2012 Champions League winners.

“When you have a year left, in January you are allowed to talk to other clubs and sign a pre-contract or have an agreement so, yes, I will talk to other clubs because you never know what is going to happen,” the 29-year-old is quoted as saying on Sky Sports.

“If it is going to be the Premier League there will be options. If it is China or some other places, we will see. One thing is for sure, I will make the best decision.”

At still a relatively young age considering his wealth of experience, Mikel will surely be an attractive prospect for a number of top-flight teams, but arguably none need him more than Hughes’ Stoke.

We’ve already highlighted how a regression in Glenn Whelan’s performances in the Potteries have contributed to the club’s poor start, so adding more steel to the spine of the side should be a priority for the former Wales manager.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.