The transfer deadline came and went and Axel Witsel is still a player who is employed by Zenit St. Petersburg. About 24 hours ago, that’s something that didn’t look possible at all. That’s mainly because it was told to us that a deal between Juventus and Zenit looked like a forgone conclusion.
Nope, not happening now. But what we do get out of it is details about the deal that happened before things fell through and Juve were left “furious” because of Zenit’s firm stance in the ground and Juventus’ inability to close the deal in the final hours and minutes of the transfer window being open.
Zenit have stopped Witsel deal when medicals and contract were done! Juventus now furious with Zenit #deadlineday— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 31, 2016
Imagine you’re Witsel for a second. You’ve left Belgium’s training camp to conclude a deal you feel pretty safe is going down. You then undergo your medicals — another sign that a deal is probably going to happen. You’re sitting around Juventus’ headquarters for hours and hours and hours waiting for something good to happen and for the green light to go on so that you can quickly sign your new contract and be done with it. And then nothing happens.
Juventus’ midfield will be fine without Witsel. It won’t be as good as if Witsel was signed, obviously, but it’s not like only adding Miralem Pjanic this summer is a problem. There’s a lot of more ‘ifs’ to the equation now — Sami Khedira’s health, Kwadwo Asamoah’s health, Claudio Marchisio’s return from injury, Mario Lemina’s development — but things aren’t as doom and gloom as they may seem after Juventus couldn’t close a deal for a midfielder they have been chasing for most of the summer.
But hey, Zenit will lose Witsel for free in January or next summer. It might be to Juventus, too. So, while they were being stingy now and Juventus couldn’t close that deal, we could be talking about Witsel being Marotta’s latest Bosman signing in four months or so.