Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel plans to decide his Stamford Bridge future in January. The 29-year-old Nigerian has not played any matches for the Blues during the current campaign and has suggested he may seek a move away from the club.
Mikel – who joined Chelsea in 2006 – has admitted he finds himself in a period of uncertainty, saying he will "wait and see what happens in January".
"For the first time in my career, this is happening to me and I have to stand up and deal with it," the Chelsea midfielder said, according to Sky Sports. "It is what it is but I'm training hard every day and always wish the team the best and I am happy we are doing well.
"I've been at Chelsea a long time. Managers come and go. These things happen in football so we will have to make that decision when January comes."
Gernot Rohr, the coach of the Nigerian national team, has suggested Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is punishing the midfielder for playing at the Rio Olympics earlier this year. The decision to represent his country meant Mikel missed the start of the new campaign and Rohr believes his charge has been harshly treated by the new Chelsea boss.
"He is being punished for deciding to go to the Olympics for Nigeria," Rohr explained to ESPN. "He is training and doing well for us. I cannot punish him for deciding to make a sacrifice for Nigeria."
This comes shortly after the long-serving midfielder admitted he had already started to think about a future away from Stamford Bridge. Mikel has less than 12 months left on his current Chelsea deal, and revealed he intends to talk to interested parties in January.
"I have one year left [on my contract]," Mikel previously said. "When you have a year left as a football player, you have to start planning and start thinking about what's going to happen at the end of the season. Yes, there are going to be rumours, yes, there are going to be conversations between clubs.
"When you have a year left, in January, you are allowed to talk to other clubs and sign a pre-contract or have an agreement so, yes, I will talk to other clubs because you never know what is going to happen."