Mikel was 'coerced' to snub Man United

The Premier League’s inquiry into John Obi Mikel’s transfer tug-of-war between Manchester United and Chelsea is to investigate claims that the Nigerian teenager has turned his back on Old Trafford because he has been “intimidated and coerced into acting against his wishes”.

Daniel Fletcher, a London-based agent who holds the player’s registration, has written to the Premier League and the Football Association (FA) to register an official complaint. He also supports United’s request for a full investigation, similar to that involving Chelsea, Jose Mourinho and Ashley Cole.

The letter has been seen by The Guardian and raises the possibility that Mikel would rather move to Old Trafford than Stamford Bridge, despite his public utterances to the contrary.

“My information is that the player still expresses a firm desire to join Manchester United,” said Fletcher. “It is clear the player is seemingly being intimidated and coerced into acting against his wishes.”

Fletcher, who works for Athletes1, has been unable to contact Mikel for eight months and has been dismayed to discover his client has allegedly become involved with another English agent, Jerome Anderson, as well as the Nigeria-based agent John Shittu.
Fletcher has sent the Premier League a copy of his contract with the 18-year-old, which runs until July 2006 and is verified by the FA and the Nigerian FA.

Mikel received death threats, purportedly from Nigeria, after signing for United, and his Norwegian club, Lyn Oslo, were so concerned for his safety that they contacted the police and assigned him a bodyguard. Shittu said he had brought Mikel out of Norway for his own safety.

To the fury of Sir Alex Ferguson, Mikel turned up in London with Shittu, declaring that he wanted to join Chelsea and that he had been unfairly pressured into signing a contract with United. Carlos Queiroz, Ferguson’s assistant, has stated that Mikel was “almost kidnapped” and that Chelsea’s behaviour threatened to take football “into the jungle”.

Fletcher said in his letter that he has made repeated attempts to contact the Stamford Bridge hierarchy, but that “they have chosen not to communicate with me”. He has written to Anderson and Shittu to clarify his position.

Athletes1 is giving serious consideration to taking action through the courts. “It is a great concern that several parties are maybe ignoring the Fifa agent licensing system here,” Fletcher’s letter states.

The Premier League has promised to investigate, but its inquiries will not begin in earnest for several weeks. — Â

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