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John Obi Mikel could leave Chelsea for regular first-team football in summer

ESPN FC's Dan Thomas and Shaka Hislop warm up for the summer transfer window in the Rumour Rater.
Former West Ham goalkeeper Shaka Hislop reacts to Thibaut Courtois saying he "doesn't know" if he'll be at Chelsea next season.
ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti shares his unique perspective on the rumours that Antonio Conte will be Chelsea's manager next season.

John Obi Mikel has said he will find out about his first-team opportunities under Chelsea's next manager before making a final decision on his future.

Interim boss Guus Hiddink has given Mikel a more prominent role since succeeding Jose Mourinho in December, with the midfielder starting 14 of his 19 matches in charge.

Mikel is in his 10th year at Stamford Bridge, making him one of the club's longest-serving players, but the 28-year-old has only rarely managed to establish himself as a regular starter under a succession of managers.

And with outgoing Italy coach Antonio Conte expected to take over from Hiddink at the end of the season, Mikel has said he could leave if that meant playing more regular football elsewhere.

"I have one more season with Chelsea, but I know when this season ends we will definitely sit down and try to sort out whatever needs to be sorted out," the 28-year-old told Goal.

"If it means me leaving, fine. If it means me staying, then I have to play because one thing I don't want to do is to sit on the bench like I did before.

"Wherever it is, I just want to play. Legacy is important, and I'm very proud and happy that I've kept this legacy to be able to achieve what I have achieved."

Last week, Mikel was appointed Nigeria captain by coach Samson Siasia. "Mikel is the oldest serving player in the team and it is the right thing for him to have the armband," Musa told ESPN FC.

"The most important thing for us right now is to concentrate on the two games in front of us and make sure that we beat Egypt [on Tuesday] and qualify for the [African] Nations Cup."

Liam is ESPN FC's Chelsea correspondent. Follow him @Liam_Twomey or on Facebook.


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