Mikel refuses to join United Mikel poached in 'jungle'

Click to follow
The Independent Football

The dispute between Manchester United and Chelsea over the Nigerian prodigy John Obi Mikel descended into further farce yesterday when the teenager claimed that he had been forced into agreeing to the deal with Old Trafford and no longer wanted to join.

The dispute between Manchester United and Chelsea over the Nigerian prodigy John Obi Mikel descended into further farce yesterday when the teenager claimed that he had been forced into agreeing to the deal with Old Trafford and no longer wanted to join.

Carlos Queiroz, United's assistant manager, warned that the manner in which the 18-year-old appeared to have been poached suggested that football had become a "jungle". He called for action from football's governing bodies after United reported Chelsea to the Premier League for their role in the bizarre saga that has included mysterious disappearances and alleged death threats.

By last night it appeared unlikely that Mikel would join United after he HAD appeared on the Norwegian television station TV2 and accused the club's officials of pressuring him into signing from Lyn Oslo last month.

"I don't think I want that contract any more because I didn't do it in my own way," he said. "I was under pressure to sign the contract. I was under pressure from Morgan Andersen [Lyn Oslo director] and two other representatives from Manchester United and I was also under pressure from the clubs."

The battle for the highly rated midfielder's services would now appear to rest on the question of whether he was denied representation at talks between United and Lyn Oslo. United sources have dismissed suggestions he could have been bullied by their representative Jim Ryan as "ridiculous".

At the announcement that he was joining United, Mikel shook hands with Ryan and posed in a club shirt with his name on. Privately, Chelsea have distanced themselves from any involvement with what took place subsequent to that, when the player simply disappeared. He was picked up by his agent John Shittu and is now in London, although Chelsea have denied meeting either man.

"We cannot let football drop into the jungle," Queiroz said. "But I think that it is important that institutions such as Fifa, Uefa and the national federations are strong and that they keep the credibility and respectability within the game.

"United followed the rules and spoke to his [Mikel's] club first. But it is very easy for somebody else to put an offer worth three or four times more on the table. People then sell illusions."

Comments