John Mikel Obi, the former captain of the Super Eagles, has acknowledged that he was forced to sign for Chelsea in 2006 because the fates of three other Nigerian players were attached to the agreement.
After joining from Norwegian club Lyn Oslo, Mikel enjoyed 11 trophy-laden years at Stamford Bridge.
However, because he had originally signed for Manchester United, the trade was fraught with controversy.
Mikel Obi later claimed that he was forced to write for the Red Devils.
This resulted in a legal dispute between Lyn Oslo, Manchester United, and Chelsea, as well as FIFA intervention.
Mikel Obi eventually joined for Chelsea, who paid Manchester United a compensation sum of £12 million and Lyn £4 million.
Three of Mikel Obi’s U-20 colleagues, Chinedu Obasi, Emmanuel Sarki, and Ezekiel Bala, were also undergoing trials at Stamford Bridge at the time.
Mikel Obi told The Athletic
When I chose Chelsea, it wasn’t just my life that changed.
“There were four lives that changed. Why? Because if I didn’t, Chelsea might not have anything to do with my three friends. I was close to them. I knew their families.
“I didn’t just make the decision for myself. I thought about them, I thought about their families. This gave them more of a chance.”