Chelsea midfielder Mikel John Obi has confirmed he is determined to stay at Stamford Bridge for another season to help Antonio Conte's side return to the Champions League. Yet, the 29-year-old is eager to impress the new boss during the 2016-2017 campaign in order to earn a new deal with the Blues, as his current contract is set to expire in the summer of 2017.
Mikel moved to west London from Lynn Oslo in the summer of 2016 as a prospect for the future after Chelsea beat Manchester United for his services in a controversial deal worth around £16m.
He has since established himself as an important member of the dressing room, making a total of 249 appearances, including 33 for Jose Mourinho and Guus Hiddink last term.
However, his future at Chelsea has been under scrutiny in recent transfer windows as in the previous campaigns he has mostly served as a back-up for Nemanja Matic in the middle of the park.
Galatasaray alongside clubs from Turkey and Dubai have long been linked with his services but Mikel has insisted that his short-term future lies at Chelsea. He says that he would like to stay at Stamford Bridge beyond the end of his current contract but is aware that to fulfil his wishes he will need to prove his worth to Conte in the new campaign.
"I am definitely staying at Chelsea and I will try to give my best to the club, like I have always done," Mikel told the Evening Standard. "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."
But after more than a decade at Chelsea, the midfielder accepts he is resigned to parting company with the club so close to his heart should the Blues opt against offering him a new deal at the end of the season.
"I have a year left and then we will see what happens," he added. "If I play well this season, it will help me earn a new contract. I will give 120 percent every time I'm on the pitch or come off the bench. I will always give my best.
"If Chelsea decide they want to talk, then we will talk. If I have to move on, I'm sure there will be plenty of clubs out there where I can continue my football career. It will be difficult to leave but these things happen. You have to move on one day. My happy memories of Chelsea will never go away."