Nigeria midfield enforcer Ogenyi Onazi has revealed how he was able to convince top officials of Trabzonspur to bring the retired Nigeria captain to Turkey.
In an interview with Sunday Punch, the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations winning star, who also play club football with the Turkish side, disclosed how he was approached by the club for his opinion on the former Chelsea midfielder.
“I’m very excited of course (to reconnect with Mikel Obi at club level).
“The club had several options and he was just one among them. So, the club president asked about him (Mikel) from me and I told them all they needed to know and how good he can be for the team,” the former Lazio star told the Punch.
“I pushed it to them to get him at any cost because I know what he can bring to the team. I have played with him and so I should be in the best position to know.
“Just like I did when Anthony Nwakaeme was on the club’s radar last season.
Mikel Obi enjoyed an outstanding single season with Middlesbrough on his return to England from his spell in China, nearly dragging the Championship side to the playoff finals.
The UEFA Champions League winner, not short of suitors himself, also needed some convincing to join Trabzonspur, a job Onazi did perfectly without extra pay.
“I had to also convince Mikel to choose Trabzonspor well ahead of other Turkish teams who were on his trail.
“Now, I can’t wait to continue that wonderful partnership we had playing for the Super Eagles at Trabzonspor.
“I played some of my best games with Eagles alongside him. We won the AFCON together when I was relatively young. He’s one calm guy you need around you always.
“His experience will come very handy for us as a team and the fact that Trabzonspor will be in four competitions this season also means he will be of help immensely.
“I’m so excited that he’s here with us and I cannot wait to join the main squad in training. He has been my football idol since I started playing football and the fact that we hail from the same place (Jos) makes it more good.