Super Eagles midfielder Mikel Obi may have finally sealed a place with Chelsea instead of being shipped to Turkey or Dubai as he is currently with the Chelsea squad on a training tour of Canada. Another Nigeria international Victor Moses is also in Montreal for the pre-season training; giving credence to the Stoke City statement this week that the player would be part of Jose Mourinho’s programme for Chelsea this term.
“It could be he plays a part for Chelsea this year,” said Stoke manager, Mark Hughes, who failed in a bid to keep the player.
“He showed enough in his time with us that it made Chelsea very aware of the talent they have.”
The Chelsea squad arrived in Montreal in the early evening local time on Wednesday to begin the pre-season preparations, Chelsea website confirmed with the Nigerians listed. Twenty-three players commenced a week of training.
The pre-season players in Canada this week as listed are as follows: Thibaut Courtois, Asmir Begovic, Jamal Blackman, Cesar Azpilicueta, Branislav Ivanovic, Ola Aina, Gary Cahill, John Terry, Kurt Zouma, Jake Clarke-Salter, Nemanja Matic and Mikel Obi. Others are Nathaniel Chalobah, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Ramires, Cesc Fabregas, Oscar, Eden Hazard, Bertrand Traore, Victor Moses, Loic Remy, Diego Costa and Dominic Solanke.
“Added to players who were part of the first-team squad that secured the league title last season are new-signing Begovic plus Moses, Chalobah and Traore who were out on loan last campaign and from the Chelsea Academy, Aina, Clarke-Salter and Solanke,” the message on the Chelsea site read.
“The internationals who competed in the Copa America this summer, Filipe Luis, Willian, Juan Cuadrado and new loan-signing Radamel Falcao, will join up with the squad midway through the visit.”
Aina and Solanke are the other Nigerians on the trip. But despite the inclusion of these two young Nigerian players, Kenneth Omeruo was not included in the team. Omeruo returned from a loan at English Championship side Middlesbrough and it appears he will be sent out once again on a loan to another team this term.
New Super Eagles coach Sunday Oliseh announced on Wednesday in Abuja that players in lower division would not be invited to the team during his tenure. Omeruo was part of the Eagles squad under Stephen Keshi.
On Thursday Mourinho and his assistants led the first training session in the morning with a second one expected to follow later in the day. Montreal is the main training base throughout their fortnight in North America.