John Obi Mikel has admitted that he is ready to talk to clubs in January if Chelsea fail to offer him a new deal.
The Nigeria international has entered the final year of his contract and can begin negotiations over a Bosman move at the beginning of 2017.
He has so far struggled to get into Antonio Conte’s side after playing in the latter stages of the Olympics football tournament in Rio, where he helped Nigeria win bronze, and he accepts that his time at Chelsea could be coming to an end.
“I have one year left on my contract,” Mikel said. “When you have a year left as a football player, you have to start planning and start thinking about what’s going to happen at the end of the season. Yes, there are going to be rumours, yes, there are going to be conversations between clubs.
“When you have a year left, in January, you are allowed to talk to other clubs and sign a pre-contract or have an agreement so, yes, I will talk to other clubs because you never know what is going to happen.”
“I’ve been here for a long, long time. I’ve spent 11 years of my life in this football club, it is my home.
“This season is the last at the club if my contract ends. I am quite relaxed about it, the future looks good.”
Mikel is Chelsea’s second longest serving player after John Terry and has won three Premier League titles, two FA Cups, the Europa League and the Champions League in his 11-year career at Stamford Bridge.
“I am always open to a new conversation, a negotiation [with Chelsea],” he added. “But if there’s none, the future still looks bright.”
One day you have to move on. I think my memories here, my achievements here, are something that no one will ever take away from me.
“I have won everything there is to win with this football club. We were the first London club to win the Champions League, and forever I will be one of the first players to win the Champions League for Chelsea. Those memories will never go away.”
The 29-year-old gave his verdict on a potential move to the Chinese Super League, where ex-Chelsea players such as Demba Ba and Ramires are currently playing.
“I will decide where is best for me and my family,” he continued. “You don’t just wake up as a single man and sign wherever, it has to be good for you, the family, the kids, so it is about the package. The best decision has to be made.
“If it is going to be the Premier League there will be options. If it is China or some other places, we will see. One thing is for sure, I will make the best decision.”