Exclusive: Manchester United Plot £32m Raid For Belgian International

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Red Devils look to snare talented middle man from Russian giants.

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Manchester United are set to make a January raid on Zenit St Petersburg midfielder Axel Witsel during the January transfer market but have been told it will cost them somewhere around £30m if they hope to stand any chance of taking him away from them.

CaughtOffside understands that the 24-year-old is keen to secure a move away from the current Russian Premier League leaders in favour of a move west, and has targeted the English Premier League as his ideal destination.

The former Standard Liege man has featured 19 times for Zenit so far this season, scoring twice and creating one assist, but that hasn’t stopped a host of clubs from across Europe from casting admiring glances his way.

United are known to be in the market for several new midfielders as David Moyes looks to follow through with a proposed shake up in the new year as he is unhappy with the squad he has inherited since taking over from Sir Alex Ferguson over the summer.

The likes of Ashley Young, Nani, Anderson, golden boy Tom Cleverley and even new signing Marouane Fellaini have so far failed to impress and the club look set to continue their slide into mid-table mediocrity un-halted.

Witsel himself has previously stated that he would be open to a move to England, and name checked Manchester United, and title rivals Chelsea, personally in an interview with Belgian newspaper Nieuwsblade.

“Indeed, I hope a big club comes for me,” he said.

“I also see that my teammates are playing at Chelsea and Manchester United play, but I’m not playing badly over here.

“There will come a day when one of those clubs will show interest and I can leave.

“My preference is to go to the Premier League. It’s not because half the national team is playing there, but because it is the world’s most watched league.”

Witsel has found it difficult to win the Zenit fans over to his side and his form on the field, as well as his personal life off it, has suffered.

However, a move wouldn’t be easy to engineer as Zenit are thought to be looking to squeeze as much of the £35m transfer fee they paid Benfica for him last season.

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