Manchester United have reportedly been offered an opportunity to land Belgian midfield mainstay Axel Witsel this summer.
As per reports from German outlet Bild (h/t Express), Premier League giants Manchester United have been offered the chance of signing Tianjin Quanjian midfielder Axel Witsel before the summer transfer window closes.
The 29-year old Belgian international is reportedly keen on a return to Europe having spent the past eighteen months in the cash-rich Chinese Super League, after he joined Tianjin from Zenit St. Petersburg in January last year. And Manchester United are one of the clubs that have been provided with an opportunity to sign him.
Witsel, since joining the club, has gone on to make 47 appearances, scoring six times and setting up three more for his teammates. In the ongoing season, the midfielder has featured eighteen times across all competitions for the Chinese outfit, bagging two goals in the process.
The 29-year old was an integral part of the Belgium team that finished third in the summer’s 2018 FIFA World Cup, featuring in all but one match in the competition in Russia.
Witsel has been rumoured to be headed to German outfit Borussia Dortmund this summer. The Bundesliga heavyweights are understood to be eyeing a replacement for midfielder Julian Weigl, who has been strongly linked with a move away to Paris Saint-Germain.
However, the two clubs haven’t been able to reach an agreement over the transfer fee, with Dortmund not willing to meet the CSL outfit’s valuation of the player.
As a result, Tianjin have decided to offer the midfielder to other clubs across Europe, with Manchester United reported to be one of those. Manager Paulo Sousa though has ruled out a transfer to the Premier League for the 29-year old, stating that he expects Witsel to stay at the club.
Speaking to CGTN (h/t Mirror), the Portuguese said: “I have received no information about Witsel’s transfer situation, neither from the club nor from the player himself. So as I understand it, he has a clause in his contract, but this clause can only be triggered within the [Chinese] transfer windows, and that has already shut in China. This transfer will not happen.”
Manchester United haven’t had the best of the summer transfer windows, despite getting some business done very early in the summer. The Red Devils have managed to sign young full-back Diogo Dalot from FC Porto and followed it up with the big money signing of midfielder Fred, post which Lee Grant arrived from Stoke City as a reserve keeper.
Jose Mourinho has constantly expressed his frustration over the club’s inability to bring in more players this summer. The Portuguese remains keen on strengthening his defensive line, with moves for England international Harry Maguire and Barcelona defender Yerry Mina understood to be in the works. A right-sided winger also remains a priority for the former Chelsea and Real Madrid manager.
However, considering that they already have a packed midfield with Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera, Scott McTominay, Fred and youngster Andreas Pereira who impressed heavily in the pre-season, it is unlikely that they will look to sign Witsel in the summer.