Reports in Belgium are linking Standard Liege’s midfield star Axel Witsel with a move to either Everton or Aston Villa although there are a number of clubs tracking the player. The 20-year-old is one of the hottest properties in Europe after excelling for the Belgium champions alongside highly-rated Steven Defour.
Inter Milan; Manchester United, Man City and Arsenal have all been previously linked with the youngster who has played a huge part in Standard’s back to back league title wins. Individually the player has also won a number of accolades including the Belgian Young Football of the Year award in 2008 as well as the Belgian Golden Shoe for being the best player in the Belgian top division last season.
Witsel was born in Liege though his father who was also a former footballer has roots in Martinique. The midfielder came through the ranks at Standard making his senior debut aged 17 during the 2006/07 season. He went on to make 16 league appearances (10 starts) for the club (2 goals) that season but it was following campaign when Witsel established himself as the star he has become.
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Witsel made 33 league appearances in 2007/08, scoring 7 goals (all starts) as Standard won their first league title in 25 years. He formed one part of a trio of exciting young talent with Marouane Fellaini and Steven Defour as Standard stormed to the title 7 points clear of Anderlecht. Fellaini soon departed to Goodison Park, while Defour is also a target for Everton and their rivals Liverpool.
Standard retained the title last season after a play-off win over Anderlecht with Witsel himself scoring the title winning goal from the penalty spot in the 2nd leg. Once again the 20-year-old scored 7 goals taking his tally for the club to 16 goals in 83 league appearances. Witsel also impressed in Europe for the club playing well in their narrow Champions League qualifying defeat to Liverpool and scoring in the Uefa Cup win over Everton.
Witsel has also won 9 caps for his country, his only goal coming on his debut. He was red carded in his last international appearance in a 2-1 away defeat in Bosnia. The 20-year-old is an excellent dribbler, has an eye for goal and at 6 ft has an excellent physique for the Premier League. He was reported to have rejected the advances of Real Madrid and Arsenal when he was just 15 but this summer could finally see the Belgian star making a big money move with the Premier League his most likely destination.
Do you like the look of Axel Witsel? Would you like your club to sign one of the most promising prospects in European football? Let’s hear your views.