New Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has entered the race to sign Belgium midfielder Axel Witsel this summer.
According to reports, Chelsea have joined the race with Premier League rivals Everton to fight for the signature of Witsel. Witsel is likely to cost around £25million, which is more expensive than what N’Golo Kante would cost, with a move for the French midfielder also being considered.
The Blues have been pressing to sign Roma’s Radja Nainggolan but Roma have rebuffed every offer thus far, Chelsea are now set to switch targets and approach Witsel as Conte looks to rebuild Chelsea’s feeble midfield.
Witsel is currently away on international duty with Belgium at Euro 2016 and will play Wales in the Quarter-Final.
Although Witsel is on international duty, The Blues are understood to have discussed a potential move to bring the 27-year-old to Stamford Bridge.
Everton’s hopes of signing Witsel from Zenit St Petersburg are now in jeopardy as Premier League giants Chelsea have shown an interest, Everton have been considered favourites all summer as they look to replace the ageing Gareth Barry.
The Belgium midfielder has just one year remaining on his current contract and it is likely Zenit will sanction a move for him this summer with the club believed to be demanding around £15 million.
Witsel joined Zenit St Petersburg in 2012 and has gone on to play 106 games for the Russian side scoring 15 goals, the experienced midfielder has also represented Belgium 69 times scoring 7 goals.
Witsel has been around Europe for many years and his consistent performances have caught the eye of other teams. His accurate passing and powerful dribbling are some of his strongest attributes whilst aerial duels are also a strength of his. Aerial duels are a crucial asset to play in the Premier League especially in one of the most demanding positions in midfield. Witsel is a clever player and his aggressive controlled type of play means he doesn’t dive into tackles; this can let him down on the other hand as his tackling can be a weakness. An added bonus to have the likes of Witsel is his versatility, in his career he has played as a winger, attacking midfielder, a number 8 and a defensive midfielder. After being tested in many areas Witsel has cemented himself a place in central midfield where he feels most comfortable.
Chelsea will have a fight on their hands to secure Witsel, with the 27-year-old Belgium ace also attracting interest from Italian side Roma and as reported English side Everton.
Chelsea are also set to beat Crystal Palace and West Ham to the signing of Michy Batshuayi. The striker is a teammate of Witsel for the national team. Chelsea have agreed a €40million fee for the striker who will provide competition for Diego Costa.