John Obi Mikel and his Tianjin Teda teammates are struggling for form ahead of the start of the Chinese Super League.
The Nigerian captain was named in the starting line-up as Tianjin Teda suffered a 3-1 loss to South Korean second-tier club Busan IPark on Tuesday, February 7.
During their training camp in Spain, Tianjin Teda lost all four of their warm-up games, and had suffered a 4-1 loss to K2 League team Gyeongnam FC prior to the encounter versus Busan IPark.
Tianjin Teda have been busy in the transfer market, signing Mikel from Chelsea, Nemanja Gudelj from Ajax Amsterdam, Hwang Seok-ho from Kashima Antlers and nine Chinese players.
Mikel and Shanghai Shenhua’s Obafemi Martins both earn $9m per season, but the ex-Inter Milan star is regarded as Nigeria’s second highest paid player because taxes have been deducted from his salary while the midfielder’s salary is gross.