Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr has revealed Mikel Obi is closer to joining top French club Olympique Marseille after he has been frozen out at Premier League club Chelsea.
According to Rohr, who has seriously defended Mikel’s lack of action at Chelsea, Marseille are a very serious option for the Super Eagles skipper.
“I saw him in London. He is in advanced discussions with Marseille,” Rohr told Europe 1.
Rohr, it will be recalled, has been concerned that the Nigeria captain has not been playing this season and has gone on a trip to Chelsea to discuss with the club manager, Antonio Conte.
After more than 10 years at Stamford Bridge, Mikel’s contract is up next year.
He could now be allowed to go on a free transfer after reportedly turning down offers from England rivals and opting for a move abroad.
The midfielder has also been linked with big-money transfer to China.
He has yet to be listed by Chelsea boss Antonio Conte this season.
Tribunesports recall that Nigeria’s trio of Wilson Oruma,Taye Taiwo and Haruna Lukman have both played with Marseille.
In fact, after quitting the Nigerian League in 2005, Marseille were the first club to sign Taiwo and the left back eventually spent five seasons at the French top club.
Meanwhile, Mikel is likely to be replaced by Ivory Coast player Franck Kessie after his agent flew to London to meet with the club.
The Elephants midfielder has been strongly linked with a move away from Atalanta, either in the upcoming transfer window or at the end of the season.
The likes of Juventus, Liverpool and Atletico Madrid have been speculated as potential suitors for the 19-year-old.
However, according to Corriere dello Sport, Chelsea have jumped to the front of the queue, with Kessie’s agent Georges Atanga flying to London on Thursday.
He reportedly met with Chelsea officials at their training base in Cobham in regards to a January transfer.
Kessie is set to feature for the Ivory Coast at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon.
‘The Blues’ matched an 11-win club record Saturday when they won 1-0 at London rivals Crystal Palace.
They are now nine points clear at the top of the Premier League with 43 points from 17 matches.