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English Premiership hopefuls, Middlesbrough are set to announce the signing of Nigeria’s Mikel Obi on a deal until the end of the season after he passed a medical and agreed personal terms.

 The 31-year-old former Chelsea midfielder is a free agent after leaving China’s Tianjin Teda by mutual consent this month.

Mikel spent 11 seasons at Chelsea before relocating to China two years ago. He has also been the subject of interest from Crystal Palace, along with a handful of Middlesbrough’s Championship rivals, but has chosen Tony Pulis’s promotion-chasing team.

Mikel’s wife, Olga Diyachenko, and their twin daughters live in London and he has been keen to return to England.

Boro are fifth in the second tier – six points behind Norwich, occupants of the second automatic promotion place, and seven behind the leaders Leeds – and Pulis has been keen to strengthen his squad.


Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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