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Reports: Juventus’ deal for Zenit midfielder Axel Witsel falls through

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

Waiting until the final days of the mercato has its risks. Juventus, once again, seem to have found that out the hard way.

According to reports out of Italy, Juventus’ chase to sign Zenit St. Petersburg midfielder Axel Witsel isn’t going to happen. What looked like a done deal 24 hours before the final of the transfer window arrived now is not going to be completed with just a few short minutes to go.

As of this post going live, La Gazzetta dello Sport gave Juventus a one percent chance of signing Witsel. (Don’t you dare pull out your Harry Dunne/Dumb & Dumber references now, people.)

Regarding who you read, there seems to be two major factors as to why Witsel won’t be playing his football in Turin in a couple of weeks:

  • Zenit manager Mircea Lucescu didn’t want Witsel to leave.
  • Zenit’s front office wasn’t able to find a replacement for Witsel in time, thus blowing up any kind of chances Juventus had to sign him.

I guess the quest to sign a Paul Pogba replacement has fallen into the same category as Beppe Marotta’s quest for the next great trequartista. Oh well.

But if Beppe is to get heat for this, he deserves it. Juventus had time to get this deal done. Or, any deal for a player to replace Pogba, for that matter. This is the danger that you play with when trying to finish major transfer deals on the final day of the window when the time is quickly disappearing into the night.

Hey, maybe Witsel is showing up for free next summer. We don’t know that for sure right now. But with the transfer window now shut until January, he sure as hell won’t be a Juventus player come Sept. 1.