Chelsea dominated the Premier League from start to finish last season, and therefore it is difficult to pin-point a particular area that needs drastic improvement. It is popularly accepted though, that the Blues still need a strong central midfielder to do well in the Champions League against the best in Europe.
Belgian Axel Witsel has been on the club’s radar for a while now. The talks seemed to have died down after AC Milan emerged as favourites, but Chelsea have not given up hope yet. Even though Zenit St. Petersburg have been fending off interest for their midfield star, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has now intervened directly to try and push the move through.
According to Belgian radio RTBF, the Russian has flown to his home country to meet the Zenit President Alexander Valeryevich Dyukov to try and negotiate a deal for Witsel. The 26 year-old, who joined the Russian outfit from Benfica in 2012, is valued at £30 million, an amount Chelsea would surely be willing to spend to shore up their midfield.
Witsel would function well alongside Nemanja Matic in the centre of the park, giving Cesc Fabregas a lot more freedom to go forward and operate in a more attacking role. The Spaniard struggled when he faced big and strong players in games against the bigger teams, who managed to man-mark him out of the game.
Witsel is an adept tackler who can also score his fair share of goals, as his average of one in every six and a half games in the Russian league proves. He was also impressive in last year’s World Cup in Brazil, where Belgium made it to the quarter-finals. Overall, he has over 50 caps for his country.
He would be a welcome addition to the Chelsea squad as Jose Mourinho looks to add depth for next season. With rivals like Manchester United and Arsenal strengthening in the summer, the Blues will have a more difficult task next season trying to retain their title. Therefore, it is essential that they have ever department covered.