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Manchester United could fit for John Mikel Obi if he leaves Chelsea

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Marcotti: Conte knows he must adapt (3:03)

Antonio Conte's Chelsea have been flying under his new system, but Gab Marcotti explains why more changes can be expected. (3:03)

John Mikel Obi has not kicked a ball in anger for Chelsea this season. Barring injury or a catastrophic loss of form to both N'Golo Kante and Nemanja Magic, it is unlikely that situation will change significantly.

Fortunately, the lack of playing time has not affected his form, at least not on the evidence of his recent showings for Nigeria, both at the Olympic Games and during the course of 2018 World Cup qualifying.

The current state of affairs cannot continue, however, and the midfielder has made it clear he will consider his options in January.

There are good reasons for staying at Chelsea, but there are even more compelling reasons for leaving.

Having arrived in 2006, Mikel is the second longest-serving player at the club behind only captain John Terry. And with the team playing an almost irrepressible brand of football, it is likely they will, at the very least, end up with some silverware at the end of the campaign, with the Premier League trophy a very real possibility.

That could potentially mean another Premier League medal to add to the two he already has. But that is on the assumption he is allowed to rack up the five games required to qualify for a medal. Indeed, that is an increasingly unlikely scenario for a player who has managed significant minutes every season irrespective of who is Chelsea manager. Conte's high tempo, high pressing style however, does not seem favourable to Mikel's more sedentary, laid-back style.

On the other hand, cutting ties with the Blues could be the spark Mikel needs to revitalise his career.

Rumours are that his former boss Jose Mourinho wants him at Manchester United. There are all manner of upsides and little downsides to that move. If it were to happen.

United, despite the plethora of star players they have assembled, continually look unbalanced, even against middling opposition. That is chiefly because of a frustrating inability to let their midfield dynamo Paul Pogba loose.

This in turn creates frustration up front for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, another heavyweight acquisition, who has struggled for service and is now missing chances he would previously have scored.

At Juventus, the France midfielder blossomed in the left channel, not shackled by the need to do the hard work where he was always protected by the more combative players in the squad. That is exactly what he needs at Man United in order to unleash his full potential and get the £89.3 million monkey off his back.

Ii is that balance that Mikel would bring to Old Trafford. His calm but disruptive style would allow Pogba to flourish, while his excellent, mostly short, passing range, would allow consistent ball circulation. At 29, Mikel would offer what the 35-year-old Michael Carrick does for the foreseeable future.

Even if he doesn't make the move to Old Trafford, Mikel will not be lacking clubs that will offer him the one thing he needs above all: playing time.

The Nigeria skipper needs a club where he can be guaranteed regular playing time, especially with no international games between March and August.

But sources close to the midfielder told ESPN FC that he would prefer to remain close to his new, young family. In that respect, France would offer the perfect solution. PSG can offer competitive football, a great lifestyle, high wages and still keep him just a stone's throw from his partner and twins based in London.

Marseille are also a great option in Ligue 1, while Turkish side Fenerbahce are a more distant, but perfectly feasible alternative. Good wages, regular football with European appearances thrown in, and excellent city to live.

But there's no doubt if the Red Devils do come calling, it will be a no brainer.

Mikel has a difficult history with Man United and, under Sir Alex Ferguson, that would have been reason enough to torpedo the move. However, in United's current situation, he could be just the right type of player for Mourinho to manage.