Back on Aug. 11, I wrote this in regard to Juventus potentially signing Zenit St. Petersburg midfielder and afro aficionado Axel Witsel:
Well, folks, it looks as though we can cross one of the names off the list when it comes to potential Paul Pogba replacements.
Eighteen days later, maybe it’s time to re-work that notion.
Less than three weeks after Witsel himself declared that he’s staying at Zenit, Juventus are back in for the 27-year-old Belgian midfielder, according to reports out of Italy on Monday. The financial details of Juventus’ offer for Witsel — whose contract expires after the 2016-17 season — depend on where you go. Gianluca Di Marzio says Juve have offered €15 million, Sport Mediaset is saying €20 million plus €2 million in bonuses.
(Update: Di Marzio is now reporting that Zenit have rejected that aforementioned €15 million offer for Witsel. So much for that one.)
I guess Beppe Marotta isn’t listening to what Witsel had to say a little less than three weeks ago.
With Juventus’ pursuit of Blaise Matuidi coming to an end because of the Frenchman staying at Paris Saint-Germain, I guess we could have seen something like this coming. It’s not like Juve are swimming in options with the mere fact that a good number of their reported Paul Pogba replacements are not going anywhere this summer.
While we wait to see if the Witsel talks are progressing and there’s some kind of optimism on Juventus’ part that something can get done before the transfer window closes up for the summer, it’s not like he wouldn’t be a good addition to the squad. Juventus need another midfielder, and Witsel has the kind of characteristics that the team doesn’t have a lot of right now.
Now we wait to see if anything comes of this latest flurry of Witsel rumors. One thing is for certain: Negotiations or no negotiations, it will only take a couple of days to see if Witsel ends up being a Juventus player.