EPL: How Chelsea used me to sign Mikel Obi – Sarki


Former Chelsea youngster, Emmanuel Sarki, has revealed that the club used him to sign John Obi Mikel as a teenager.

Sarki was long on Chelsea’s books from 2006-2010 but never made an appearance for the first team.

Speaking to the Athletic, Sarki, who is currently on loan at Polish side Huragan Waksmund, disclosed that former Chelsea chief executive, Peter Kenyon, asked him to try and get Mikel to sign for the Blues.

He said: “Then, a few weeks in, Gwyn Williams told me Peter Kenyon wanted to talk to me at his office in Chelsea. I had not realised Kenyon had joined from Manchester United [as chief executive] — Mikel always spoke about him wanting to sign him at United — but Kenyon said, ‘Manu, I hear you and John Mikel are best friends. Can you find out what is happening with him and if he would be interested in coming to Chelsea?’.

“Mikel and I were always very close. We knew each other’s families really well and were room-mates in the national team, so I rang him up back home in Nigeria and asked, ‘Bro, what’s going on? Why did you leave your trial at United?’.

“He told me about Antwerp in Belgium and how he didn’t want to go there, so I had to explain to him that he would not be able to sign a deal in England because we were all under 18. And, anyway, we would not qualify (for a work permit). ‘Without this, you cannot play here’. He had not understood that, but I told him I was there in London with Bala and Edu, and that, if he wanted, he could come and do a trial here too. ‘Are you sure? Stop pulling my leg’. I said I wasn’t!

“They bought him a ticket and he came to us. We were like a happy family together, the four of us… so happy to see him. We started training all together then, soon after, we went to South Africa for a while to play for Ajax Cape Town. We destroyed the league. Absolutely destroyed it.”

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