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Agent speaks in Mikel saga

Posted by by Mark Buckingham on 2005/06/09 | Views: 1084 |

Agent speaks in Mikel saga

John Obi Mikel's agent John Shittu insists the Nigerian starlet was pressured into signing for Manchester United and refuted Lyn's suggestions that the teenager had been kidnapped.

ChelseaJohn Obi Mikel's agent John Shittu insists the Nigerian starlet was pressured into signing for Manchester United and refuted Lyn's suggestions that the teenager had been kidnapped.

Mikel is at the centre of an alarming transfer row after Lyn announced they had sold the player to The Red Devils in April.

The youngster was pictured holding a United shirt to mark his transfer but, behind the scenes, a storm was brewing.

Chelsea thought they had an agreement to sign the 18-year-old, while Lyn blamed Shittu for the saga which could require Fifa's involvement to resolve.

But Shittu is adamant he is not to blame for the furore and he points the finger at Lyn director Morgan Andersen for creating the messy situation.

Shittu, who has been looking after Mikel's interests for over two years, insists the midfielder was coerced into signing a deal to join United by Lyn.

"On April 29 after noon I had a fax saying that Obi Mikel doesn't need my services as his agent anymore," Shittu told This Day. "I told my secretary to forget it as that is not Mikel because we have been together for two-and-a-half years and I know he would never do such a thing.

"In the evening a friend called me and said 'congratulations, Obi Mikel has just signed for Man U'. I said please forget it, Mikel is not going to Man U.

"I kept calling him (Mikel) but he didn't respond so I left it until the next day and he said 'bros I am sorry it was these people'.

"He said it was Morgan Andersen. He was put in a room and was told that a day before Man U had contacted him and that they wanted Mikel to sign for them and the contract papers have been faxed to him (Andersen).

"He said he needed to speak to his agent but was refused. He said he needed to study the contract for a week - he was refused. He was told he could not speak to his agent or his family and was told to just sign the deal.

"He said he was forced to sign."

Shittu then travelled to Norway for talks with Lyn and, at this point, the Mikel saga came to public attention with his club claiming the starlet had been kidnapped.

His representative strongly refutes the accusation, claiming Mikel merely opted not to go to a meeting with Andersen before travelling to London with Shittu to escape the media spotlight.

Mikel has recently been with the Nigerian Under-20 squad and Shittu is waiting for the matter to be resolved, with a return to Lyn a possibility.

He added: "If the contract is what Mikel wants, then no problem, but he should not be forced to sign a contract under duress.

"He is doing well. I left him in Paris with his team-mates. All the Norwegian people are waiting for us there."

Shittu also revealed that Mikel, along with compatriot Isaac Promise, were close to signing for The Red Devils a couple of years ago after the pair trained with the Premiership giants.

"I went to Old Trafford to see the management team of Alex Ferguson and Jim Ryan," he continued.

"We sat down, had a meeting and arrived at an arrangement of how we can get the boys to sign for Man U.

"They made a lot of promises which the boys liked. We all agreed and we were expecting them to come back with their promises. In principle we agreed on what they wanted to do and how they wanted to finance the boys.

"After about two months of waiting for Man U to live up to their promises the boys became impatient in Nigeria and kept calling me and I was calling Man U but they were not forthcoming with anything."

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