Chelsea Midfielder Jon Obi Mikel (officially Mikel Jon Obi since legally changing his name earlier this year) has opened the door for a possible move to the United States. The 29-year-old told Goal.com that he could see himself coming to MLS and possibly playing with or against his Frank Lampard, his former teammate at Stamford Bridge.
"There was absolutely no doubt that Frank wouldn't go out there and succeed," Nigeria international Mikel, 29, told Goal. "I am happy that he is back to his best, doing what he loves to do and, one day, who knows, I may go over there and play with him, or play against him."
When thinking about this potential move logically, Atlanta United would make some sense as an MLS destination for Mikel. The most obvious link is that the club will need players and will be linked to any and every big name player to make the jump in the next 12 months. But there’s more to it than that.
Mikel was the captain of the Nigeria Olympic men’s soccer team this summer. The same one that had a nightmare time traveling from Atlanta, a city where they held their pre-tournament training camp, to Brazil where the tournament was held. After a long ordeal that saw their own federation almost wreck their Olympic dreams, they finally made it just hours before their opening match thanks to some help from an Atlanta airline.
The veteran midfielder has a history in Atlanta and more than likely developed some relationships here in the city during that whole ordeal. While that’s a completely speculative link, it’s not as crazy as it may sound.
As far as on-field, Mikel still has a lot left in the tank. While he may be on the outside looking in at minutes with Chelsea, that’s not an indication that he’s completely done as a soccer player. He’s maybe just not top tier level anymore. A move to MLS could rejuvenate is career like many before him and Atlanta could be a great place to do that.