Roy Keane used to make John Obi Mikel's life a hell of a lot easier 4 years ago

Roy Keane used to make John Obi Mikel's life a hell of a lot easier

Transfers don't come much weirder.

On 29 April 2005, Manchester United announced that they'd agreed a deal to sign John Obi Mikel from Norwegian side Lyn but it couldn't have been more short-lived as Chelsea elbowed their way into negotiations, revealed that they'd already had a deal in place and convinced the Nigerian to move to Stamford Bridge instead.

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Several clubs were eager to sign Mikel as a teenager and a representative from one even showed up to tempt him with a briefcase full of cash before the midfielder was told that he would be going to United for a fee of £4 million.

But after a unique tug-of-war and lengthy resolution process, Chelsea won out and Mikel joined the Blues for £16 million in June 2006.

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It was one of the few times that Sir Alex Ferguson was beaten to a top target of his as he had been a huge fan of Mikel's since he was a schoolboy, offering Mikel a month-long trial at Old Trafford in 2003.

It was during that trial that Mikel was protected by an unexpected guardian in the form of hard-nosed club captain Roy Keane.

"I trained with the first team. Roy Keane was my bodyguard," Mikel told the Sun.

"Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt always tried to kick me but couldn’t when Roy was there because he’d have killed them.

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"Sir Alex called me Obi Wan (after the Star Wars character).

"He called me into his office one day and said: ‘Obi Wan, do you know what Keane, Scholes and all the senior players have told me? They said you have to sign that boy’.

"I couldn’t believe it. Here was I, a schoolkid from Africa, training with some of the best in the world."

After picking Chelsea over United, Mikel went on to make an impressive 374 appearances for the Blues and won two Premier League titles, four FA Cups, a Champions League, a Europa League and two League Cups.

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