Zenit St Petersburg midfielder Axel Witsel says talks with Juventus over a transfer to the Serie A champions are “at an advanced stage” as he claims the time has come for him to leave Russia. He has been understood to be a target for a number of Europe’s top clubs. Pogba has been linked with a €100 million summer move away from Turin, with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City, Chelsea and former club Manchester United all reportedly interested in the France international’s signature.
The Belgian international is allegedly on the shopping list of Manchester United chief Louis van Gaal. The Dutchman is said to be a big admirer of the former Benfica star and is understood to have explored the possibility of luring him to Old Trafford this summer. However, it seems the former Bayern Munich chief is losing the race to land the midfielder as he has revealed he is in the process of negotiating deal with the Old Lady.
Witsel admits he’s speaking with Juve about a summer move. The Turin giants have been heavily linked with the Belgian international, and the 26-year-old has confirmed Bianconeri interest.
“I’m 26, the best age to try a new experience,” Witsel explained to the press. “I’ve always said that I didn’t want to leave Zenit without lifting the league title, and that’s done. I don’t have a preferred league to play in. My aim is to play at a top club in a top league.” Juve fit the bill for Witsel, and the midfielder says talks have taken place.
Witsel, is seeking a new challenge after three seasons with Zenit, and he believes Champions League finalists Juve can offer what he is looking for. “Juventus? There have been discussions, and they’re ongoing. They’re a fantastic team with a great project, to become again what they were in the days of Zinedine Zidaneand Pavel Nedved.
In 2012, Witsel signed for Zenit Saint Petersburg for €40 million, after signing a five-year contract. The midfielder had played for 77 performances for the Russian club and scored 12 goals. The Belgium international’s current contract with the Russian champions still has two years left to run, but he is clear that now is the right time to move on.
Juve may be in the market for a new midfielder with the futures of Arturo Vidal and Paul Pogba still unclear. “The contact is there, both with me and with Zenit. It is a place which could suit me. It is time to leave Zenit,” stated the midfielder.