Chelsea Getting Ready For Another Massive Deal: Player in talks over January move

John Obi Mikel is in talks with two clubs over a January exit from Chelsea.

The Nigerian has been frozen out at Stamford Bridge by Antonio Conte.

Mikel hasn’t played once under the Italian this term – and he could be off in January.

The midfielder’s contract is up in the summer and is unlikely to be renewed.

And it’s now claimed Mikel is in talks with two clubs over a transfer next month.

European sides Marseille, Inter Milan and AC Milan have been linked with the player, but Own Goal Nigeria say there’s no chance he’ll stay on the continent.

Instead Mikel is reportedly in talks with Chinese powerhouse Shanghai SIPG and Al-Ain of the UAE.

Both can offer mega pay packets to tempt the Chelsea man away from the Premier League.

Mikel’s Blues pal Oscar is off to Shanghai next month and Own Goal Nigeria claim a source told them: “The picture will become clear in the coming days.

“But I know for a fact that if Al-Ain or Shanghai SIPG can raise their offer to around £200,000 a week, £30,000 more than what they offered him initially, the deal will be as good as done.

“He is in talks with Shanghai SIPG and Al-Ain of the UAE, they are the two clubs close to meeting his wage demands.

“No European team can pay him what he is demanding at the moment.”

Shanghai are managed by former Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas and along with the incoming Oscar have Brazilian striker Hulk on the books.

Conte is ‘proud’ to send rivals ‘message’

Antonio Conte says Chelsea showed they can keep winning in the absence of Diego Costa and N’Golo Kante as Eden Hazard inspired a 3-0 victory over Bournemouth.

Pedro scored twice but it was Hazard, who netted with a penalty, who thrived in a central role as Costa and Kante served one-match suspensions and Chelsea won for a club-record 12th successive Premier League game.

“I think today we sent a good message,” Conte said.

“A lot of people waited (to see if) without two really important players – Costa and Kante – we could lose points. It didn’t happen.”

Conte insisted he is not surprised by Hazard’s ability and praised the Belgian’s willingness to work for the team.

The Italian added: “I’m not surprised because he has real talent. The most important thing is he’s putting his talent in the team.”

Should Chelsea beat Stoke on New Year’s Eve, the Blues can equal Arsenal’s record 14-game winning sequence at Tottenham on January 4.

Proud

Conte is “proud” of Chelsea’s run, which has seen them score 28 goals and concede two, while keeping 10 clean sheets, but is adamant the finishing position in the table is all that matters.

“If you ask me, I hope to continue until the end of this season,” said Conte, with a smile.

“For me it’s important only for the table. With these 12 wins in a row we took 36 points and our table is fantastic now.

“I always thought that the record is not important if at the end you don’t reach something important in your championship.

“But to be with my players, to have this record, for sure we are proud about this.

“Now we want to continue in this way. For sure it won’t be easy.”

Michy Batshuayi was overlooked, but Conte says the £33million signing from Marseille will not be leaving Chelsea on loan next month.

Batshuayi came on only after Pedro’s late third, facing only the restart before the full-time whistle, when he was consoled by Conte.

Batshuayi is yet to start in the Premier League, but Conte says it would be a “defeat” for him as head coach if the striker is permitted to make a temporary move.

Conte repeatedly said “no” when asked if Batshuayi would be allowed to go out on loan.

“This player is a new player for Chelsea and to go on loan now is a defeat for the club and above all for me,” Conte said.

“We have to continue to work with him every day to try together to improve him.”

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe felt Chelsea’s second, when Simon Francis felled Hazard, was the key moment of the game.

Howe said: “The decisive moment was the second goal and how that went against us I thought was a key moment.”

Asked if he felt aggrieved at the penalty award, Howe added: “I don’t know. I haven’t seen it again and it was a difficult view for me. I didn’t think it was contentious at the time.”

Howe admitted Bournemouth, who won this fixture last season, struggled with Chelsea’s three-pronged strike-force, particularly Hazard.

“I thought he was outstanding today, there’s no doubt about that,” the Cherries boss said. “His movement, his ability to turn on the ball so quickly. His technical ability, very high level.

“When you have him and Pedro and Willian counter-attacking on you at such pace it’s difficult.

“That was the thing where we fell short today. On the ball we gave them too many times to get in those situations, by not being tight enough on the ball and good enough on the ball in certain situations.”

Pep Guardiola: It will be tough for Manchester City to keep pace with Chelsea

Pep Guardiola admitted Manchester City have little margin for error in the title race after labouring to a 3-0 win at bottom side Hull.

City could ill afford to drop points at the KCOM Stadium after Premier League leaders Chelsea won their 12th game in succession earlier on Boxing Day.

They eventually prevailed in a drab game by scoring three times in the final 18 minutes against the spirited Tigers.

The former Barcelona boss said: ‘Liverpool went so close one year because they had one game a week and last year, for Leicester, it happened the same.

‘This time Chelsea and Liverpool are the ones. We have played seven more than them – and important games like the Champions League – which is why it will be tough.

‘But football is unpredictable. We have to do absolutely everything to be there. Sometimes when you believe something is done it isn’t.

‘What we have to do is win every game and analyse and see if that is enough.’

It was almost a change of tone from Guardiola, who has previously pointed out the importance of playing his way, rather than stressing the need for results.

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