I'm double Premier League winner who accidentally signed for Man Utd then 'went missing' to join rival | The SunNovember 15, 2023
JOHN OBI MIKEL was warned Sir Alex Ferguson would try to "brainwash" him after he accidentally signed for Manchester United.
The former midfielder was infamously pictured in a United shirt at a press conference in 2005.
However, he went on to sign for Chelsea from Norwegian side Lyn a year later, despite his pre-contract agreement with the Red Devils.
Reflecting on the transfer, Mikel told talkSPORT this week: "Sir Alex thought he got me, yeah. I did the press conference and it was everywhere.
"Then obviously Roman [Abramovich], everybody at Chelsea saw it and they were like, 'What's going on here? We've been looking at this player for two or three years now, what's happening here?'
"Obviously they sent my agent down to Lyn and then he came down to Norway, and then for a couple of hours I went missing. He took me out from my apartment where I used to live with a couple of my friends.
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"He was like, 'We need to go back to London, I need to get you out of Norway right now because what you've done right now, it's so much of a problem with Chelsea and Roman is not happy.'
"So my agent took me to a hotel and then the next morning we flew down to London, and the rest was history.
"Then it took me about a year, I couldn't play for either United or Chelsea because FIFA was like, 'OK we need to resolve this.' So I went to FIFA and I was like, 'I didn't mean to sign for United."
Mikel, who was still a teenager at the time, later met with Ferguson at the FA offices in London.
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Before the meeting, he was warned by his agent that the legendary manager would try to "brainwash" him.
He added: "I did have a meeting with Fergie at the FA office in London because the FA also wanted to get involved and was like, 'We need to get this player playing, he's a young player, he needs to play football.'
"It was just me and him in a room, yeah that was feisty. I had my agent sitting outside and he was like, 'When you go into this meeting, because he's going to try to brainwash, everything he says, just make sure you say no.'
"So I went into that office, into that meeting, so everything he was saying I was like, 'Ah, I'm sorry boss, I can't play for United, it was a mistake, I didn't mean to sign.'
"It was a long table, he was sitting right over there and I was sitting at the edge of the table.
"He was sitting at the other edge, I could see him go red, he was like, 'Are you sure you don't want to play for United, the biggest club in the world?'
"He's like, 'What is it you want, do you want more money? What is it you want, I'll give it to you.'
"I was like, 'Sorry boss, I can't play for United, I want to go to Chelsea.' So we had about 20 or 30 minutes in the room and he walked off and then that was it.
"He walked away, and then the next couple of weeks he was like, 'OK, well I'm not going to let him go for free,' so [Chelsea paid] £14million to United and £4m to Lyn."
Mikel went on to spend 11 years with Chelsea, making 372 appearances for the Blues.
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During that time, he won 11 major trophies, including the Champions League and two Premier League titles.
Following spells in China, Turkey, Kuwait and two returns to England, Mikel retired last year aged 35.
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