John Obi Mikel’s hope of returning to England may have been dashed after Championship side Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis is reported to have turned down the Nigeria international.

Mikel is seeking a return to England after two years in Chinese club Tianjin Teda, where he joined from Chelsea.

But he won’t be joining Middlesbrough any time soon. The Sun reported that Mikel had been considered by the North Eastern outfit though a move to the Riverside is no longer on the cards after manager Tony Pulis turned him down.

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English Premier League club Crystal Palace is also reported to be interested in the player, but may be handicapped by money. Mikel is a free agent following his exit from Tianjin.

Palace were calamitous at the back in Saturday’s 4-3 defeat to Liverpool so a player with Mikel’s discipline wouldn’t go amiss.

Mikel, 31, made 374 appearances during his 11-year sojourn at Chelsea.

Mikel hasn't played for Nigeria since he captained the team to last summer's World Cup but is being urged to return to the national scene ahead of this summer's African Cup of Nations.

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