Super Eagles of Nigeria captain John Mikel Obi has left Chelsea to join Chinese Super League side Tianjin TEDA with a reported weekly wage of £140,000. The 29-year-old Nigerian has played 372 times for Chelsea since joining in 2006 but has not featured this season. He said it had been “an honour” to play for the Stamford Bridge club but it was time to “seek a new challenge”. Mikel has won two Premier League titles, four FA Cups and the 2012 Champions League during his time at Stamford Bridge.
Former Olympiakos manager Marco Silva has been confirmed as Hull City’s new boss. The 39-year-old Portuguese has signed until the end of the season at the KCOM Stadium. He replaces Mike Phelan who was sacked on Tuesday with the Tigers bottom of the Premier League. Silva left the Greek side in the summer and had previously been linked with managerial vacancies at Championship sides Wolves and Nottingham Forest. He will take charge of Hull’s next game against fellow Premier League strugglers Swansea in the FA Cup third round at home on Saturday.
Watford are ready to cash in on Odion Ighalo amid fresh interest from the Chinese Super League. Ighalo has twice snubbed big-money moves to the Far East in order to stay at Vicarage Road. Watford were forced to reject Shanghai SIPG’s record £37.5million offer on the eve of this season as he did not want to go. Now Shanghai Shenhua, managed by Gus Poyet , are preparing a move for the misfiring striker. Boss Walter Mazzarri has said publicly Ighalo will be going nowhere. But privately the Hornets want him out – even if the Nigeria star digs his heels in again.
Everton have completed the £11m signing of Charlton Athletic’s teenage forward Ademola Lookman. The 19-year-old joins on a four-and-a-half-year deal until June 2021. The England Under-20 international, who has scored seven goals in 25 games this season, becomes the most expensive signing from League One. Lookman said: “It feels great to be an Everton player. As soon as I heard about Everton’s interest I knew this would be the right place for me.” Charlton had hoped Everton would loan Lookman back to them for the rest of the season but he is seen as someone who could quickly play a part at Goodison Park under manager Ronald Koeman. “Everton has a big history and I was also attracted by the manager,” Lookman added. “When you look at what he did at Southampton, and what he does with young players in terms of developing them, that was a big attraction. “It was great playing in the Championship last season and for the last six months in League One but I feel like I’m ready to make the step up to the Premier League.” Koeman said: “Ademola is a big talent and, at 19 years old, he has a big future in the game. I’m really happy that we’ve been able to bring him here to the club.” Lookman is of Nigerian parentage.
Leicester City have signed defensive midfielder Wilfred Ndidi for a reported £15m from Belgian side Genk. The 20-year-old Nigeria international completed his move on Thursday after a work permit was approved, signing a five-and-a-half-year deal. Ndidi has already trained with the squad and could make his debut in Saturday’s FA Cup third-round tie at Everton. “He’s an impressive player with a big future,” said manager Claudio Ranieri. “I feel I can learn a lot here,” Ndidi told the club’s TV channel. “I try to win the balls for the team – that is one of my main attributes. I have to achieve a lot here.” Ndidi helped Genk finish top of their Europa League group to secure their place in the knockout stages of this season’s competition.
Leicester forward Riyad Mahrez has won the Confederation of African Football’s player of the year award. The 25-year-old Algerian, who inspired Leicester to the Premier League title, is already the PFA Player of the Year and BBC African Footballer of the Year. Borussia Dortmund’s Gabonese forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was second and Senegal and Liverpool striker Sadio Mane came third. Arsenal and Nigeria forward Alex Iwobi won the young player award. Countryman and Manchester City striker, Kelechi Iheanacho was in contention for the honour.