Manchester United have made a formal enquiry over the possibility of signing Zenit St. Petersburg star Axel Witsel, but have yet to lodge a proper bid.
According to reports in Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport the Belgium international has attracted the attentions of a host of top European clubs, with United, Chelsea and Juventus all in the running to sign him.
Of the three clubs it’s purported that Juve are in pole position at the moment - as one would expect Gazzetta to relay - but the key piece of information is that the 26-year-old is keen on leaving Russia this summer as he looks to take the next step in his career.
Interest in Witsel has been generally high since his Benfica days, and his showing at last summer’s World Cup did little to put suitors of.
A strong central midfielder with experience at the highest level of the game, the ex-Standard Liege man could make a for a cheap alternative to other targets having been linked with the likes of United and Chelsea.
Indeed it’s said that Juventus’ longing to take Witsel to Italy is borne out of a need to potentially replace Paul Pogba, who might well be on his way to another European superpower after establishing himself as a lucrative option in the middle of the park.
Witsel might not be as well-rounded as the Frenchman but he has proven himself effective both defending and going forward in the past, and with the money Juve would make from Pogba’s sale they could comfortably afford him.
That said United don’t look like they’re going to give up the ghost easily. Gazzetta remarks on the fact that the Red Devils have made enquiries of their own, thus confirming their interest, and as Louis van Gaal bolsters his side he won’t want to suffer too many transfer knock-backs during his second summer window at Old Trafford.
Meanwhile Chelsea appear to be monitoring the situation with interest but don’t appear to be an immediate threat in the race. Jose Mourinho already boasts a highly competitive midfield packed with star quality, and so it’s difficult to see where Witsel would fit in.
United fans, Chelsea fans, do you think your respective sides could benefit from signing Witsel this summer? Let us know in the comments box below.