Mikel’s here for the game – Stoke City coach

Stoke City Coach Michael O’Neill is convinced that Mikel Obi joined his team for the love the game and his career and not for the love of cash. O’Neil has said former the Super Eagles captain turned down lucrative offers to sign for the English Championship side.

The ex-Nigeria international had been linked to Italy with Serie A newcomers Benevento and Brazilian sides Botafogo for undisclosed packages though, but he chose to return in England after his foray to Turkey. Mikel quit Turkish Trabzonspor where he was on €125,000 every month after disagreement with the team over Covid-19 protocols.

O’Neill stated: “John Obi Mikel had many opportunities around the globe about where he could have gone and played which, I assure you, were a lot more lucrative than what he signed here at Stoke.”

Mikel’s wife and children live in England.

He was in action as Stoke beat Newcastle 1-0 on Sunday in a pre-season friendly at St James’ Park. It was the third pre-season match that Mikel has been in the starting XI. He was also a starter against Shrewsbury Town and Leeds United.