Man United face Chelsea competition for world-class international midfielder

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Manchester United and Chelsea are both understood to be considering a move for Zenit St. Petersburg midfielder Axel Witsel.

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According to the Mirror, the 26-year-old is eyeing a move away from the Russian heavyweights in search of a new challenge.

His powerful performances in the heart of the midfield for Zenit have piqued the interest of both Premier League giants, and the Champions League duo could be set to go head-to-head in a bidding war for the Belgian international.

Witsel moved to Zenit in 2012, leaving Benfica for a considerable £29 million. After a troubled start to life in St. Petersburg, he has demonstrated his class in recent seasons.

The midfielder was instrumental as the Sky Blues lifted the Russian title last season, playing a key role in the heart of the park for Andre Villas-Boas’s champions.

However, his success in the RPL look to have given him itchy feet, with the Mirror reporting that Witsel is now looking for something new.

While he would certainly find that in England, another option might come in Italy, where there is interest in his services from Serie A giants Juventus.

According to the Gazzetta dello Sport, the Bianconeri are keen on adding Witsel to their brimming complement of midfield options. Juve—who are the reigning Italian champions—have already added World Cup winner Sami Khedira this summer, but the likes of Paul Pogba [Sky Sports], Andrea Pirlo [Metro] and Arturo Vidal [Express] have all been linked with a move away from the club.

While Witsel may struggle to find a place in Chelsea’s midfield—with Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic nailing down the two starting berths and Ramires and John Obi Mikel fighting to replace them—he may find more joy at United.

Michael Carrick will be 34 when the season begins, and cannot be expected to have the same impact next season that he has in the past.
As they look to enforce their midfield options, United have been linked with the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger [Manchester Evening News] and Morgan Schneiderlin [Metro].