Chelsea legend John Obi Mikel has spoken about Man Utd’s interest in him and he has insisted that he “doesn’t regret” his decision to join the Blues.
The 35-year-old announced his retirement last month and it has not taken much time for him to be asked about the time he came close to joining Manchester United.
He made a name for himself at the 2003 U17 World Championships and that led to him joining the Norwegian side Lyn as a teenager.
A couple of years later, Chelsea and Man Utd became embroiled in a bitter dispute over his services.
Mikel initially put pen to paper to sign for the Red Devils but in 2006 he became a Chelsea player after the two Premier League clubs reached a settlement. As part of this, United received £12m of the overall £16m transfer fee.
The Blues arguably benefitted more out of this exchange as Mikel grew to be a club legend at Stamford Bridge.
The midfielder played over 350 times for the London club and he won the Premier League, Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup.
Mikel has now insisted that joining Chelsea was the “best decision” that he has ever made:
“I don’t regret any decision I made because I enjoyed everything I achieved at Chelsea – it’s the best decision I have ever made in my life,” Mikel said in an interview with BBC Sport Africa.
“I signed a pre-contract for Manchester United when I was 17. If you are a kid and you see Sir Alex Ferguson right in front of you with the contract, of course you will be tempted.”
He went onto admit that the tussle for him “was not a great moment” as he wanted to focus on his football:
“I acted as a young kid and as soon as Chelsea heard the news, they came and got me out of Norway.
“That’s when people started saying that I was kidnapped. It wasn’t a great moment for me then. I just wanted to play football because I was so young.”
Mikel has also spoken on his relationship with Jose Mourinho and how he “took over” from Claude Makelele:
“Mourinho decided that he wanted me to play the defensive midfield position. At the end of the day, he is the coach and made the decision,” Mikel continued.
“We discussed and he felt that because of the big midfield players he had in his squad at Chelsea that I should play the defensive midfield role.
“[Claude] Makelele was just finishing his career at Chelsea, so Mourinho wanted me to take over from Makelele.”
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