Mikel targets new Chelsea contract

Mikel Obi  has quashed reports he is to leave Chelsea insisting he will stay and fight for his place, and a new contract.

The Nigeria international was reported to be subject of interest from a number of Chinese clubs, but has said he will continue his career at Stamford Bridge next season.

“I want to help the team fight for every point, every win and to win trophies. I also want to help the team qualify for the Champions League again as soon as possible,” Mikel said in an interview with the Evening Standard.

“For 10 years I have been going to the same training ground, the same locker room. It is an amazing club, with an amazing owner. They are like a family to me. It is a place that has become a part of me.”

Mikel is one of the longest serving players at Chelsea – making over 240 appearances across 10 seasons – and as he enters the last 12 months of his contract the midfielder is keen to prove his worth to new manager Antonio Conte.

“I have a year left and then we will see what happens. If I play well this season, it will help me earn a new contract,” he said.

“I will give 120 per cent every time I’m on the pitch or come off the bench. I will always give my best.”

Meanwhile, Mikel Obi has thanked Chelsea for giving him permission to go to the Rio Olympics and said Antonio Conte told him to bring back a gold medal.

The Nigeria captain  is aiming to help the  Under-23 team  win their second Olympic gold in Brazil, but did say the decision to choose the games over the start of the Premier League season was a difficult one.

“It is difficult to leave Chelsea at this time,” he told the Evening Standard.

“But I explained to the club why I wanted to go and I thank them for their understanding and allowing me to be a part of this.

“The coach also gave me his blessing. He told me to make sure I do well and bring back the gold medal.”

When Mikel returns from Olympic duty, he could find his pathway to the Chelsea first team blocked by new £32m signing N’Golo Kante, Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas.

The 29-year-old has not had ample time to impress new boss Conte either, and knows he will have to prove himself when he returns to Stamford Bridge.

He said, “Obviously, it is hard to be away because I want to impress the new coach.

“I had one week of pre-season training and you need more than that if you want to prove yourself to a new manager who wants to change everything around.

“It is a risk that I have taken but I am willing to stand by that. I hope after the Olympics I can go back and prove myself.”