Former Super Eagles midfielder, John Obi Mikel moved to English Premiership side, Stoke City this week. And the manager of the club, Michael O’Neil has said that the Potters made enquiries before signing the former Chelsea star.
Mikel, 33, joined Stoke as a free agent on a one-year deal, having left Turkish Super Lig side Trabzonspor in March.
O’Neill said that the club contacted Mikel’s former manager at Middleborough Tony Pulis before a deal was made.
“We didn’t feel that possibly we would be in a position to get him but having met the lad – he spent a day up here with us in Stoke – he liked what he saw, and we liked what we saw in him in terms of what his vision was,” O’Neill gave this information to TalkSPORT.
“And when you’ve got a player that has had the career at the level that John has had you are always a little bit worried about them coming to a team in the Championship.
“But we did a lot of due diligence on him, got references from people like Tony Pulis who he played under at Middleborough and other people that he’s worked under.
“But the most important thing was that John was really keen to come. He wants to try and finish his career in the Premier League having obviously been in China and having been abroad again in Turkey and hopefully, he can do that with Stoke City.”
Mikel has had an enviable career that includes an eleven year outing with Premier League giants, Chelsea. While at the club, he won the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League titles as well as a series of domestic titles.
For the national team, Mikel had 91 caps for the Super Eagles before announcing his retirement from international duty after helping the West Africans finish third at the 2019 African Cup of Nations tournament in Egypt.