Tianjin TEDA midfileder Super Eagles captain Mikel Obi has denied he will return to the English Premier League in January.
Mikel swapped Chelsea for Chinese Super League side Tianjin Teda during last January transfer window after the Blues’ Italian manager Antonio Conte shut him out of the first team.
Some reports had claimed the 30-year-old would leave Tianjin after an injury-hit first season, with Everton leading the chase.
But Mikel, who represented Nigeria at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, said he had no intention of returning to Europe now.
“I don’t know where such a rumour came from, but this story is untrue,” he told Tianjin TV.
“I want to stay in the Chinese Super League and play for Teda. I‘m sure there will be lots of speculation about me as the transfer window nears but this is a false rumour.”
According to the News Agency of Nigeria, Mikel says he is confident that playing football in China will not affect his international career.
“Playing in the CSL will help me maintain my status for the World Cup,” he said.
“The standard of the CSL is quite high. Before, people might have thought it was slow, but now it’s very quick. I have no doubt playing in this league will help me stay in shape.
“Of course, there is still a gap between the CSL and the English Premier League but the CSL is improving. To play more games will be good and I hope I don’t get injured.”