For nearly two months we had been banking on a series of quotes from Axel Witsel that confirmed he was going to sign with Juventus. Rumors of other teams being interested came and went, but we could pretty much bank on the fact that Witsel didn’t shy away from committing to Juventus and talking up the faith they showed in him even when he summer move blew up at the end of August.
Everybody was convinced. Everybody.
Two months later, the tide has certainly changed.
Amid endless reports coming out of Italy that Witsel has decided to become the next player to accept a big-money salary to play his football in China, the afro’d-out Belgian pretty much confirmed that his next team won’t be Juventus. Basically, not knowing when he was going to sign with Juventus worked against the Serie A champions. Along with the whole development that the Chinese Super League is willing to pay insane amounts of money to bring talent to their country and league.
To the quotes from Witsel himself:
"It was a difficult choice because on one hand there was a great team and a top club like Juventus," Witsel told Tuttosport. "But on the other there was an offer for my family that I couldn’t turn down.
"The leadership at Juventus have always behaved like gentlemen with me and I can only be grateful to them.
"I will cheer for Juventus and I hope they can win the Champions League. Then who knows, maybe in the future our paths will finally meet!"
(Source: Football Italia)
I mean, I could have done with that last part of his quote, but whatever you wanna do, Mr. Witsel. But when you take a line of out The Godfather and get an offer that you can’t refuse, it’s pretty tough to say no to €18 million a season.
We may never know how truly close Juve were to signing Witsel before this big-time offer from China that he couldn’t refuse came along. We know Zenit wanted as much money as they could get for the 27-year-old midfielder if he were to leave in January, sho who knows how much leverage or anything like that Beppe Marotta had.
In the end, a big pay day is what Witsel got, and what he decided to take.
Rnady Moss knows. Straight cash is hard to say no to.