Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge sides compete for Belgian international.
Manchester United and Chelsea have been handed a boost in their pursuit of Axel Witsel after Benfica signalled their willingness to cash in on the Belgium international.
Witsel, who signed for Benfica from Standard Liege last summer, enjoyed a terrific debut season in Portugal, and played a key part in the Lisbon side’s march to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
According to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, Benfica are ready to sanction the sale of Witsel this summer. However, the Portuguese side are demanding £20m for the Belgium international – more than three times the £6.3m they paid Standard for his services last July.
Chelsea may well have the upper hand in the chase for Belgian international Axel Witsel down to the fact that the West London side currently plays host to a number of his national team colleagues including Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku,
Kevin de Bruyne and Thibaut Courtois.
However perhaps the allure of a move to Old Trafford will appeal to the 23 year old who has enjoyed a standout first season in Portugal with Benfica. The former Standard Liege man racked up 48 appearances for the Lisbon side in all competitions as they narrowly missed out on the domestic title.
Ferguson’s need for a new central midfield option may well trump that of Roberto Di Matteo as the likes of Michael Carrick and, to a greater extent Paul Scholes, are clearly in the latter stages of their careers and Darren Fletcher is still to recover from illness and Brazilian Anderson is said to be on his way out after a couple of very average seasons.