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9 Nov 2016

Sign for Liverpool? Klopp keen to seal transfer for 'outstanding' €40m playmaker who wants to 'play for a big club'

Liverpool are once again being linked with a move for Belgian international Axel Witsel.

According to Italian newspaper Tutto Mercato:

"Liverpool, PSG, Inter Milan, Juventus, and AC Milan are all keen on signing Axel Witsel, who is refusing to sign a new contract at Zenit St. Petersburg"

Recent LFC transfer timeline:

* Jun 2016: Tutto Mercato claimed: "Man Utd, Chelsea and Liverpool are interested in signing Alex Witsel".

* Jul 2016: When asked about Witsel's future, Zenit boss Mircea Lucescu noted: "He [Witsel] has asked to leave. He has two offers from Italy and two from England".

Witsel definitely wants a move to the Premier League, and he confirmed this in September:

"I'd like to play next season in the Premier League or Italy. I hope to move up a level and play for a big European club".

Some info about 27-year old Witsel, hailed by Belgium boss Marc Wilmots for his 'outstanding' performances at Euro 2016:

* Central midfielder, who plays most often as a defensive midfielder (60% of games). Contract expires: 2017.

* Zenit: 35 goals/assists in 175 games (One every 445 mins). 78 apps for the Belgium national team (8 goals).

* Missed only 6 games through injury for his entire career. Averaged 54 games a season for the last five years.

* Apr 2015: On his idols: "Zidane, with his control and skill. I also love Pirlo. They've inspired me to keep working on my left foot long passing".

* Apr 2015: On his strengths: "I’m always calm and relaxed. My biggest attribute is the way I shield the ball, and that I don’t tend to give it away".

Witsel is arguably an upgrade on Can, Lucas, Wijnaldum (who is not a dedicated central midfielder), and possibly even Henderson; his fantastic injury history is a major positive, and he offers significant international and Champions League experience.

According to his agent, the Belgian is worth '€40m', but Zenit's bargaining position is significantly weakened due to Witsel having only one year left on his contract, so that should (in theory) bring the price down.

Worth pursuing?

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