The Nigeria midfielder has started talks with clubs over a January move, with the French giants having turned their interest into formal talks this week.
John Obi Mikel’s representatives have had contact from Marseille over a January transfer, as Chelsea look unlikel, Our sport Newsmen understands.
The Nigeria international, whose contract expires at the end of June 2017, has dropped down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge since the arrival of Antonio Conte and is very much on the periphery of the squad. However, he would be in renewing with the Blues if an offer was forthcoming.
Marseille, who were subject to a £32 million takeover by Frank McCourt in October, want to convince the 29-year-old to join their squad in January and have opened formal discussions over a move.
Although OM have fallen on hard times in recent seasons, Mikel could be attracted to the offer of playing for one of France’s biggest clubs. Additionally, the Ligue 1 outfit can offer the player and his family a good lifestyle in Provence, though his £75,000-a-week salary could be a sticking point.
Mikel has previously spoken candidly to Goal about his future and admitted that if he did not get an offer from Chelsea by January, he would look to begin talks with other clubs.
“I have one year left [on my contract],” Mikel told Goal . “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. You never know what is going to happen.
“I’ve been here for a long, long time. I’ve spent 11 years of my life in this football club, it is my home. This season is the last at the club if my contract ends. I am quite relaxed about it, the future looks good.”
Mikel is Chelsea’s second longest serving player on the Blues’ books after John Terry, and any move away from Stamford Bridge would end his long association with the club.