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Reports: Axel Witsel snubs Juventus in favor of massive paycheck in China

What could possibly go wrong, right?

FC Zenit St Petersburg v FC Lokomotiv Moscow - Russian Premier League Photo by Epsilon/Getty Images

For the better part of the last month we’ve been under the assumption that Axel Witsel will be a Juventus player. It was just a matter of when we’d see that glorious afro holding up his new Juventus jersey, not a matter of if he would sign with the top club Italy has to offer these days.

Turns out there’s been a serious hiccup in our future plans.

According to numerous reports out of Italy, Witsel’s anticipated move to Juventus is as much in doubt as ever before. Just days before the January transfer window is set to open up and negotiations between Juventus and Zenit St. Petersburg were expected to happen even more than before, another big-money offer from China, this time from Shanghai SIPG, has made Witsel question whether Turin is his next place of residence. A reported salary worth €18 million is what has come Witsel’s way, adding to the fact that Zenit have stood firm in their desire to get as much money out of Juventus as possible.

A few hours before the opening of the market, Juventus has taken some decisive actions. The bianconeri managed to obtain Rincon. However, the possibility of Witsel going to Juventus appears to be decreasing as the January window approaches. In these past few hours, the Zenit midfielder communicated his desire to the club, but official responses have not arrived.

Therefore, the Chinese option appears more concrete for the Belgian. The favorites to complete the deal are Andre Villas Boas’ SIPG, but Tianjin Quanjian also appears to be an option. The player’s future appears likely to be in China.

(Source: Gianluca Di Marzio)

Ha ha. Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

No, wait. This isn’t funny.

As much as we can say that the likes of Tuttosport or the Corriere dello Sport reporting this is a bunch of nonsense based on their transfer market rumor past, the sheer volume of outlets saying that Witsel’s Juventus move is as in jeopardy as ever is pretty dang noticeable. You can’t blame him for accepting a salary that size simply because it will never come his way again. Juventus were reportedly going to offer him a contract worth €4.5 million, which is only a quarter of what this potential China salary is worth.

Maybe Juventus have gone after Tomas Rincon as a safety net because they suddenly have serious doubts about Witsel arriving. Maybe the Rincon signing has nothing to do with Witsel at all. Maybe I’m just throwing ideas out here to try and wrap my head around Witsel making €18 million in China. Who knows, really.

It’s true that Juventus won’t be losing out on a world-class midfielder if Witsel does in fact head to China and make more money in one season than I will ever see in my life. But, man, for how certain this seemed — again — it sure is quite a turn from what seems to be happening right in front of all of our eyes.