One of the more controversial transfers that Manchester United has had in the past few years is that of John Obi Mikel. Manchester United first announced the deal to sign Mikel in April of 2005. This deal was for four years, was for four million pounds, and would have had Mikel in the squad by January of 2006.
However, Chelsea issued a counter-claim later that year that stated they had negotiated an agreement with Mikel and his representation. They claimed to have helped Mikel move to Europe and that he and manager Jose Mourinho were in talks. This was not the first time an issue with signing the player had come up. Several sporting agents, including Sport Entertainment & Media Group, had claimed Mikel had signed exclusive deals with them in 2003.
While Mikel seemed incredibly pleased to have joined Man Utd, in May of 2005, he began claiming that he had been pressured into signing the Manchester deal and that he really wanted to play for Chelsea. These claims were dismissed by the FIFA authorities. Mikel was told to return to Lyn Oslo, the club he was currently signed to, and finish out his contract while FIFA decided if the Manchester United contract was valid.
Before a ruling could be made, Chelsea offered to negotiate with United and Lyn Oslo. In June of 2006, the three clubs resolved the issue and Mikel would play with Chelsea. However, Chelsea would pay Manchester United for not pursuing Mike’s contract. The team would receive six million pounds when the contract was finalised and another six million in June of 2007.
While Mikel’s life with Chelsea had its ups and downs, he came into conflict with Manchester United again in September 2007. He and Man Utd defender Patrice Evra clashed on the field, and Mikel was issued a three-match suspension for the bad tackle on Evra. Recently, John Obi has been banned from the roads for 15 months after he admitted to drink driving.
While Manchester United never managed to play Mikel and seemed to have been the recipients of the short end of the stick, they truly didn’t. The confusion and issues over his contract resulted in the club netting twelve million pounds for simply allowing Mikel to move to Chelsea. They made three times the money they would have paid Mikel, and they essentially made it for doing absolutely nothing. This money allowed the club to buy other players and purchase new equipment at their Carrington training facilities.
While Mikel may be a good football player, there’s no doubt that he has his dramatic moments, such as the “kidnapping” that occurred during the 2005 Norwegian Cup (in reality, Mikel had simply gone to London). By allowing Chelsea to have the player, Manchester United avoided some issues with Mikel’s behavior and made a very good amount of money into the bargain.