Former Super Eagles captain, John Mikel Obi, would have still been playing active football if he had listened to the wise counsel of his former agent John Shittu against joining the Chinese Super League side, Tianjin Teda in 2027.
The Nigerian international, who spent more than a decade at Chelsea, joined the Chinese club on a free transfer for a reported weekly wage of £140,000 but cancelled the contract, a year before the agreement between him and club was due to run out and returned back to England to join Middlesbrough.
Speaking to journalists recently in Abuja, Shittu believes Mikel, who announced his retirement from professional football last year, would have still been playing in England if had listened to his advice against moving to China.
He urged the Nigerian players currently doing well at their clubs not to fall into the antis of a manager or agent, who would want to cash out on them, to jump around.
“My biggest advice is always to the players because they themselve are not very reliable, they want to cut corners.
“Mikel and I had a lot of disagreements but in most cases I stood my ground with a lot of advice and that was why in Nigeria today he was a world class representative of this country. Though he has retired, you could see that a young boy has grown up to be a real man.
“Some of the players doing well now need to be careful, and not just jumping around. They shouldn’t feel because they are at the top now that they need to move.
They should make sure everything is well thought out because we have seen a lot of players who are kings in their clubs and for one reason or the other the manager or agent wants to cash out quickly, remove them from the club to where they will become just ordinary players.
Look at Eden Hazard today from Chelsea to Real Madrid. Does he need to move from Chelsea at that time he moved?
“Even my own player, Mikel Obi, when went to China, he was not supposed to go. I was against him moving to China and he could have possibly still been playing football in England till today,” Shittu said.
Mikel after his two years stay in China had also warned young players not to be tempted to move to China because of the big money.