Real Madrid are planning a shock raid for Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel this summer, according to Tuttomercatoweb.
The Nigerian international still has two years left on his contract with the Premier League leaders but has fallen out of favour at Stamford Bridge this season, making just 14 appearances in an injury-hit campaign, and is widely expected to depart the club this summer.
However, the report claims Madrid have emerged as surprise frontrunners for his signature, with Southampton also among his many suitors as they seek a replacement for Arsenal target Morgan Schneiderlin.
With Sami Khedira looking set to leave the Santiago Bernabeu at the end of the season, Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti is believed to have targeted the 28-year-old as the German’s replacement after working with him during his two-year stint as Chelsea boss.
Mikel has been with the London club for nine seasons since a €23m move from Lyn Oslo in 2006 and has won a Champions League, Europa League, Premier League, four FA Cups and two League Cups in that time.