Two days after his proposed move to Juventus didn’t happen, we’ve finally heard word from Axel Witsel. Not that we expected to see him strolling out of Juventus’ headquarters in the minutes after the deal was nixed by Zenit St. Petersburg or anything like that. But, considering how things went down, it was going to be interesting to see what Witsel had to say about it all.
In an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport, Witsel did exactly that. The 27-year-old Belgian midfielder explained — or at least tried to — what happened on the final day of the transfer window. At the very least, Witsel wanted the move to happen as much as just about everybody else sitting around the telephone and fax machine late Wednesday.
(All quotes via Football Italia)
“At times football is like this. These things happen in life. Am I angry at the failed move? No, I’m disappointed. I had done the medical and at that point already felt like a Juventus player in every sense."
Witsel, who was going to be part of an uber-afro-themed final day of the transfer window, told Tuttosport that he “already chosen shirt No. 28” — yet another clear sign that he figured there wasn’t going to be any kind of last-minute shenanigans.
“It’s disappointing that Zenit made that decision, especially as turning down €25m can be damaging. I, however, can only thank Juventus, as they showed such class with me and did everything they could to sign me.
“It was a strange incident, but I learned Zenit’s decision much earlier than the transfer deadline. I then returned to Brussels, where I arrived at 3am just before the match against Spain.
“My destiny was with the Bianconeri, that’s how I felt. Now I mustn’t think about it anymore. I must remain concentrated, as I am a professional.
“Although with a contract that expires in June…”
So, Axel, you’re saying there’s a chance...?
In the hours following Witsel’s move to Juventus falling through, reports came across the interwebs that a deal for the Belgian could be back on in January.
In regards to a January transfer to Juventus, what say you, Axel?
“I don’t know, we’ll see what happens in January. For June… But I haven’t agreed terms with Juventus!” he laughed.
“We’ll see what happens. But my destiny was in that direction… The Bianconeri look like a truly strong team, you’ll see how well they do in the Champions League.”
So what does all of this mean? Well, I highly doubt that Juventus are done trying to sign Witsel. Whether it’s for a cut-rate transfer fee in January or on a free for the summer of 2017, there’s going to be more rumors surrounding a potential move for Witsel. That just seems undeniable at this point.
We aren’t done with Witsel. Neither is the Italian press. It will be interesting to see what Beppe Marotta has to say about this the next time he does talk to the press.