Borussia Dortmund star midfield man Axel Witsel opens up on why he rejected other offers to join the German giants. The Belgian midfielder who is currently linked with Manchester United was also on Jose Mourinho’s radar during the summer transfer window along with clubs like Paris Saint Germain and Bayern Munich were also interested in the Belgian.
However the 29-year old chose Borussia Dortmund over the other European giants and arrived at the Westfalenstadion in the summer for around £18m, after his 18-month stint in China where he played for Chinese Super League club Tianjin Quanjian. The midfielder also had a lot of interest from Bayern Munich during the summer though he decided to join their rivals.
When asked why he decided to move to Dortmund, he told Bild: “Because I felt that Dortmund is the right choice. I knew from the beginning that I have the quality to assert myself here and to help.
“Nevertheless, the BVB was a challenge for me, which I absolutely wanted to accept.”
Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho still wants to push for the midfielder in the January transfer window though the Belgian is tied down to a long-term contract with Dortmund until 2022. The Portuguese tactician was seen in a UEFA Nations League match between Belgium and Iceland were the former won the match 2-0. Both Marouane Fellaini and Romelu Lukaku was not fit to be fielded by Belgium manager Roberto Martinez, which led to more speculation on Mourinho’s presence at the game.
It was later suggested that Mourinho was in the ground as a part of a scouting mission and it seems defender Toby Alderweirald was the player he had close tabs on. The Tottenham defender has been linked with a move to Old Trafford for a long time now. Although reports also suggest ed that the Portuguese was also scouting a midfielder.
Belgium source HLN claimed that the midfielder on Mourinho’s radar that that was Axel Witsel. ESPN last month also came up with a similar report suggest the Manchester boss’ interest on the Dortmund midfielder. The Portuguese tactician was keen to sign the Belgian in the summer itself from China but Ed Woodward was against the move and hence the Red Devils went with Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred.
The Brazilian midfielder has failed to make an impact since his arrival at Old Trafford, the price tag he came for was pretty huge considering his age that would be an added pressure to justify it. Had Mourinho been given the green signal when he wanted Witsel in the summer things could have turned out differently than it is currently.
Witsel has adjusted to life in Germany perfectly and is a pivotal figure for manager Lucien Favre alongside players like Thomas Delaney. The former Nice manager likes to field an authentic 4-2-3-1 formation with Witsel and Delaney playing as a double pivot in front of the back-line. Delaney does more of the defensive duties whereas Witsel is the one who progresses forward and helps out his fellow attackers in the process.
Manchester United are currently in dire straits as they languish in the eighth position in the league table 18 points behind league leaders and eternal rivals Manchester City and 8 points adrift from fourth-placed Chelsea- where they would at least like to end their league campaign if not better.