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Meet the Pogba replacement Juventus are already lining up

| 10.02.2015

Juventus may have already taken the first steps towards preparing themselves for life after Paul Pogba with Zenit St Petersburg midfielder Axel Witsel reportedly identified as a potential replacement for the sought-after Frenchman.

The likes of Manchester United, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain have all been linked with big money moves for the 21-year-old midfielder, who was previously with the Red Devils before opting to see out his contract with the Old Trafford club and move to Turin.

Pogba has been nothing short of a revelation since moving to Serie A, winning back-to-back Scudettos with Juve, and after proving similarly impressive for France at the World Cup in Brazil another move is beckoning.

Reports seem to suggest that Juventus would be willing to listen to an offer of £80m for the midfielder while the Bianconeri have already started looking for a replacement.

According to a report carried by Foot Mercato that cites Belgian news outlet HLN, the Italian giants are keen on bringing Witsel to the Juventus Stadium this summer.

An experienced Belgium international with 54 caps to his name, the 26-year-old central midfielder started his career at Standard Liege before moving to Benfica in 2011.

A single season with the Lisbon giants was enough to convince Zenit to spend big on Witsel with the player recruited in September 2012 as part of a £32.5m deal.

Part of the Red Devils squad that progressed to the quarter-finals of the World Cup, where they were eliminated by eventual finalists Argentina, Witsel was also a controversial figure in his younger days in Belgium.

Back in August 2009, for instance, the midfielder was involved in an ugly incident in a game between Standard and arch-rivals Anderlecht.

Witsel was red carded and banned for eight league games after being found guilty of stamping on opponent Marcin Wasilewksi’s ankle in an incident that left the Pole with a broken leg, though the Juventus target claimed that the challenge was an accident and without intent.

Older and wiser now, it remains to be seen as to whether Witsel is the man to replace Pogba at Juve.

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Jack Beresford

Jack Beresford is a content writer with over five years of experience in writing about sport and betting, including a two-year spell with Axonn Media. Contributes articles to HereIsTheCity and Lad Bible, while previous credits include Bwin, FTB Pro, Bleacher Report and the QBE rugby. Avid follower of tennis, rugby union, motorsport and football, Jack also writes about poker for Cardspiel.com alongside Guardian journalist Dominic Wells.