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Chelsea change tack in their quest for a Belgian midfielder

| 28.06.2016

No matter what happens this summer, Chelsea appear hell-bent on adding a wild-haired Belgian centre-midfielder to their ranks.

The club have reportedly had a third bid for Mohawk-sporting Roma star Radja Nainggolan rejected and so have switched their focus onto his international teammate, Axel Witsel.

Like many of the Red Devils squad in France for Euro 2016, Witsel is being regularly linked with a move this summer.

The Daily Mail suggest the current Zenit St Petersburg star is a new fancy for Chelsea, who are muscling in on Everton as the latest Premier League outfit to show interest in the 27-year-old.

Both top-flight clubs have a need to bolster their centre-circle stocks during the off-season. The Blues are yet to replace Ramires after selling him in January, while rumours suggest Ronald Koeman will move Gareth Barry and Leon Osman on at Everton.

Witsel has been playing in Russia since the 2012/13 season and has made 156 appearances for Zenit in all competitions. Seen as a box-to-box style midfielder, the Belgian has managed to net 21 times during that time.

He has played in all four of Belgium’s games at Euro 2016 so far and has been a key performer in his nation’s progress to the quarter finals.

Witsel has the highest passing success rate of any Belgian squad member to have played more than 90 minutes and trails only Thomas Vermaelen in interceptions per game too.

Links with Witsel and Nainggolan indicate Chelsea want to add a dose more dynamism to their squad this summer, after a disappointing Premier League title defence last season saw them finish 10th.

Throughout the course of the campaign the Blues’ squad was highlighted as ageing and underperforming, with central midfielders like Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas coming in for criticism.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.



Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.