John Obi Mikel reveals how Tony Pulis influenced Middlesbrough move

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John Obi Mikel
The former Chelsea midfielder completed a move to the second-tier of the English league on Thursday after parting ways with Tianjin Teda

Middlesbrough new-signing John Obi Mikel has singled out his conversation with manager Tony Pulis as the factor that influenced his move to the Championship.

The Nigeria international joined Boro on a short-term deal as a free agent after ending his two-year relationship with Tianjin Teda in December.

Roma and Wolfsburg were reported to be in the race to sign him this transfer window but after travelling to the Teesside, he sighted similarities between Pulis' plans and his as the deciding factor.

“For me it’s looking at the project,” Mikel told club website.

“I spoke to a few clubs and I also spoke to Tony [Pulis], had a good chat with him.

“He’s told me where he wants to go with it and it definitely fits with what I want to do. 

“The club wants to get promoted so hopefully I’m here to help in any way I can.

“It’s a family club and this is what I want. I like stability and this is why I was at Chelsea for a very long time.”

Mikel's signing comes as a boost for Middlesbrough who are placed fifth in the Championship table with two points adrift of the automatic promotion places.

“We have to put our heads together and help each other,” he added.

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“If anyone knows me from my years at Chelsea, I always played for the team. The team comes first and that’s exactly what I’m going to do here.

“Here is going to be a challenge, but I love challenges.”

The 31-year-old has been handed the number 2 jersey and could be in contention for Saturday's FA Cup outing against Newport County at the Riverside Stadium.