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Rumour Mongering: Reds Battle Juventus for Axel Witsel

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Witsel’s Zenit contract expires next summer, and rumour mongers are concocting a battle for his services.

FC Zenit St Petersburg v FC Lokomotiv Moscow - Russian Premier League Photo by Epsilon/Getty Images

The transfer window slammed shut just a little more than a week ago now. Which apparently means it’s well past time for the rumour mongers of the world to start getting us ready for the next one, set to kick off in just about 17 weeks now.

To that end, rumour mongers in Italy and England are today working to find a good home for Zenit St. Petersburg’s 27-year-old box-to-box midfielder Axel Witsel, who many will remember was briefly linked with a move to Anfield over the summer. And once again, Liverpool are named a potential destination.

St. Petersburg had been rumoured to be open to a sale of the Belgian international given his contract expires next summer, but in the end nobody offered them enough to forgo one final year of his services. Reports in Russia claim they are still hopeful they can convince him to sign a new deal, but that isn’t looking likely.

That means that a January move on the cheap or, failing that, a pre-contract agreement, could be on the cards. And right now at least, the most solid links are with Juventus, who the Italian press are convinced have already agreed terms in principle with the player’s representatives.

In England, though, the Mirror are equally convinced that Liverpool were really interested in Witsel over the summer and remain interested in him still, and that that could lead to an offer from the Premier League side—who could offer higher wages than Juventus.

For now, though, it’s difficult to take the rumour all that seriously. Especially when most expect Mahmoud Dahoud, a player who would fill a similar role for the club, to be Liverpool’s top midfield target next summer. Still, Witsel is a solid player, and on a free transfer he could make for a shrewd bit of business.

Meanwhile, while Liverpool are being rumoured to be looking at snatching Witsel away from Juventus, rumour mongers in Italy over the past week have begun to link Juventus with an attempt to snatch Dahoud away from Liverpool. Truly there isn’t a time when you’re safe from a bit of rumour mongering.