Chelsea boss, Jose Mourinho has hinted that the Blues will likely not be signing Zenit midfielder, Axel Witsel as he has “no space” for accommodate another midfielder at Stamford Bridge, as per IBT.
Witsel is expected to leave Zenit this summer and has been linked with Arsenal, Juventus and Chelsea but the Premier League club appear to be in pole position to land him with the intervention of Russian billionaire and owner of the club, Roman Abrahamovich.
Italian broadsheet, Corriere dello Sport had claimed that AC Milan have earmarked the signing of Witsel as a priority, having lost out on Geoffrey Kondogbia to rivals, Inter Milan.
Yesterday, a report from the same source emerged that Chelsea are ready to offer €34 million to Zenit for the player’s services, and that Milan will surely lose the battle as they can not afford that figure.
However, Blues boss Jose Mourinho is now saying he is not looking to recruit more midfielders this summer, with Cesc Fabregas, Nemanja Matic, Oscar Emboaba, Ramires, John Obi Mikel and the recently-promoted academy star, Ruben Loftus-Cheek all in the team.
“At this moment we have Matic, Ramires, Fabregas, Mikel, Loftus-Cheek and Oscar,” Mourinho said, as quoted by the Star.
“Six midfield players. I have no space for midfield players. No space. So if somebody talks about midfield players it’s not true.
“But there is always a risk that somebody comes for one of our players, or one of our players show an interest in leaving and we must be ready to answer.”
Mourinho’s statement however points to the possibility of a midfield exit, and Obi Mikel is the likely player to leave having been linked with Turkish clubs and Abu-Dhabi-based Al Ain. Should he leave, then Witsel could still move to Stamford Bridge.
Furthermore, the Blues’ interest in the 26-year old former Benfica ace has also sparked rumours of a Chelsea exit for Oscar. Juventus are the only known team showing keen interest in the Brazilian, with boss Massimilliano Allegri searching for replacement for Andrea Pirlo and Arturo Vidal.
Now that the Chelsea boss has declared he does not want more midfield men in his team, Oscar will likely be staying put. The player himself has always reiterated that his wish is to remain at the club for a long time.
From a defensive perspective, Witsel does not compare well to either Mikel or Matic, with his average tackle won per minute (0.94) being weaker than the Chelsea duo’s (1.95). However, in an attacking sense, the chances he created (0.74) per game is higher than Mikel’s 0.25 (via Squawka).
Radamel Falcao and Asmir Begovic remain the Blues signings so far thi summer, with the former arriving on loan and the later joining from Stoke.