Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Jose Sure Obi Will Be Worth the Fuss

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Jose Sure Obi Will Be Worth the Fuss

Article excerpt

Byline: CHRIS HATHERALL

JOSE MOURINHO believes [pounds sterling]16million teenager John Obi Mikel will be one of the best players in the world within two years after finally handing him his first Chelsea shirt.

Mikel conducted his debut interview for Chelsea here last night almost two years after the club began a long and drawn-out process to buy him.

During that time the 19-year-old central midfielder was at the centre of a quite astonishing transfer wrangle between Manchester United, Chelsea and Norwegian club Lyn Oslo that included accusations of bribery, player trafficking and even kidnap.

But Mourinho is adamant Mikel, who claimed he was pressurised into signing for United in April 2005 when he always wanted to be a Chelsea player, can put all the trauma aside to become a major success.

He said: "I hope if the brain helps, and I believe the brain will help, that in a couple of years he will be one of the best players in the world.

"I hope the brain, the personality, the character, can help because footballistically [sic] the quality is amazing.

In just two days you can see the quality he has.

"We cannot make mistakes in the judgement so I just wish him a lot of success in Chelsea. And I just wish himself and the people around him can help him to build a good personality because he can be a real star."

The controversy over whether he was a United or Chelsea player rumbled on for months with boss Alex Ferguson saying: "I don't believe it's true that Mikel doesn't want to join Manchester United. I believe he has been forced to say it. His family have been put under huge pressure and the circumstances are very sad. The manner in which he and his family have been treated and pressurised is, quite frankly, disgusting."

United complained about the conduct of Chelsea and the player's agents to FIFA but were given short shrift, although an investigation was held into the whole affair in which Chelsea gave evidence not as defendants but as witnesses. …

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