Former Super Eagles midfielder, Mikel Obi has disclosed how Michael Essien played a key role in helping him to adjust to life at Chelsea.
Recall that Mikel joined the Blues in 2006, and didn’t leave the Blues until 2017, where he won the UEFA Champions League, FA Cup, Premier League, UEFA Europa League, Community Shield and Football League Cup.
In an interview with The Athletic, Mikel said that former Ghanaian international made him have a lot of confidence in the game.
“Suddenly, I was sharing a dressing room with all these players I had watched on television back in Africa.
“I was sitting next to Lassana Diarra. I would be there thinking, ‘Oh my God, it’s Didier Drogba. It’s Frank Lampard. It’s John Terry’.
“Michael Essien [who joined Chelsea from Lyon in the summer of 2005] really helped me. Michael always told me I was a good player and just reminded me to bring the ball down, control and pass.
“If you need to dribble, dribble. If you don’t need to, just pass. You are strong. You are fast, too. If you can, just push the ball past and run, run, run because they cannot catch you.
“He was the guy who really helped me and made me have a lot of confidence.”
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Chelsea Manager Tuchel Risks FA Charge
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel is in risk of being charged by the FA over his comments after the win over Brentford on Saturday.
Tuchel was informed about a supporter-led petition demanding Taylor be removed from future Chelsea games following the 0-0 draw with Liverpool in August that saw Reece James sent off.
Asked about the petition, Tuchel said on Friday: “I trust in the referees and I trust in Anthony Taylor that he will try to have the best performance.
“Do we need a top referee? Yes. Do we need good decisions from VAR or maybe no decisions from VAR? Yes. Do we need a little bit of luck? Yes. And, hopefully, we can turn things around with Anthony Taylor.”
FA rules state that managers are not permitted to discuss officials before games.
However, given Tuchel’s impeccable record since joining Chelsea in January, the Evening Standard says it is more likely he will receive a warning rather than a more severe punishment.
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Man City Place £67m Price Tag On Sterling Amid Barca Interest
Premier League champions Manchester City have reportedly placed an £67million price tag on Raheem Sterling amid interest from Barcelona.
The LaLiga giants are desperate to improve their forward line either in the January window or next summer and have placed Sterling on their shortlist of potential targets.
As reported by Sportsmail last week, Sterling wants to remain at Man City but will consider his future at the Premier League champions if he continues to struggle for consistent games.
No player has ever appeared in more matches managed by Pep Guardiola at Man City, yet the 26-year-old has started only two league games since the opening weekend of the season after the £100m summer signing of Jack Grealish.
“I’m not a person that’s going to complain, I’ve not tried to make it a bigger deal than it actually is,” Sterling said earlier this month.
“I get on with my work, do what I need to do. And I’m just raring to go: playing football matches regularly, scoring goals regularly.
“At the end of the day, if football for me is not at a certain standard I’m not really at my happiest. If I want my happiness at a certain level I need to be playing football. I need to be scoring goals and enjoying myself.”
Sterling has 18 months remaining on his current contract at Man City but has opted against opening discussions over an extension until his short-term future is resolved.
Now, according to Spanish newspaper Marca, City have told any club interested in signing Sterling that they will have to pay £67m to get a deal done.
Barcelona’s need for a new winger is exacerbated by Ousmane Dembele’s contract situation – his deal is set to expire at the end of the season. The club could look to move him on in January for a cut price to avoid losing their £135million signing on a free transfer.
Recent reports in Spain have linked Barcelona with an initial loan move for Sterling because their financial woes mean they could not afford to pay a huge fee for the former Liverpool star at present.
The club are in financial ruin due to their debt, which stands at more than £1billion, which contributed to LaLiga slashing their wage bill to a maximum of £90m – equivalent to that of Watford – last month.
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I’m Not Thinking About How To Keep Lacazette, Says Arteta
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta dismissed questions about the future of Alexandre Lacazette.
The French forward was at his best when he came on in the second half against a spirited Crystal Palace side at the Emirates Stadium.
Lacazette netted a stoppage time equaliser for Arsenal in a 2-2 draw, which prompted reporters to ask Arteta if he was thinking of a way to get Lacazette to sign a new contract.
He said of the French striker, whose deal expires in the summer: “Well, we have him! He’s our player, and he shows real commitment so
“I’m not thinking about anything. I’m thinking about how to get the best out of him, and tonight he showed a real big moment and how much he cares about the team.”
Reports in the UK have suggested Lacazette is reluctant to sign a new contract with the Gunners.
He can agree a pre-contract agreement with foreign clubs once the winter window opens in January.
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