Chelsea announced that they won’t be renewing the contract of John Obi Mikel who spent eleven years at the club. The announcement was made on November 4, 2016. He left the club at the end of his contract in West London in the summer of 2017. While he was still a Chelsea player, Chinese team Tianjin TEDA revealed that they have signed the Nigerian midfielder on a free transfer on January 6, 2017. He was at Tianjin TEDA until November 2018 when the 2018 Chinese Super League season ended.

After his two-year spell in China, John Obi Mikel signed for Middlesbrough in the English Championship on a short-term. The midfielder signed for Boro during the 2019 winter transfer window. He scored once in 19 games for Boro as they finished seventh at the end of the 2018/19 season narrowly missing out on a play-off spot. The first two teams qualified for the Premier League automatically while the next four teams till sixth spot battled for the third slot. He was released at the end of his contract at the club.

John Obi Mikel signed a two-year deal when he joined Turkish Super League side Trabzonspor in the summer of 2019 with the option for a third year. The Nigerian player left Trabszonspor on March 17, 2020 by mutual consent a few days after expressing his concerns about the continuation of league matches in the Turkish top flight amidst the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Mikel returned to the English Championship to sign for Stoke City at the start of last season. He played his first game for the Potters in a goalless draw at Millwall on September 13, 2020. He was a key player for Stoke City last season making 41 appearances in all competitions as they finished 14thspot in the Championship at the end of the season. He cancelled his Stoke City contract to sign for Kuwait SC last summer and didn’t last more than four months at the club before his contract was terminated.