Juventus have tabled a €22 million bid for Chelsea target Axel Witsel, after recent tests  ruled Italian midfield maverick Claudio Marchisio out for another five months, according to reports from Italy.

Marchisio had injured his knee last season during a Serie A match against Palermo. The initial assessment of the injury was that it was a simple knock. However, Marchisio had to go into surgery in April as the injury worsened. The 30-year-old was scheduled to return to action around mid-October, which means that he would have acted as a direct replacement for Paul Pogba, who is said to be set for a switch back to Manchester United.

However, Marchisio’s recovery process has been slow during this summer, and the midfield maestro is now set to be out of action till December, according to a report in Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport.

TURIN, ITALY - APRIL 17: Claudio Marchisio (L) of Juventus and Franco Vazquez of Palermo lie on the pitch after an injury during the Serie A match between Juventus FC and US Citta di Palermo at Juventus Arena on April 17, 2016 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images)

Claudio Marchisio’s (L) comeback after a knee surgery has been delayed by another five months. (Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images)

Marchisio’s delay in recovery is said to have caused a fair bit of panic in the Juventus camp. Thus, the Bianconeri have stepped up their search for a new midfielder, despite the fact that they have already signed Miralem Pjanic from AS Roma this summer.

Juventus directors Beppe Marotta and Fabio Paratici are said to be concerned that manager Massimiliano Allegri may be left without many options, with Manchester United closing in on the Pogba move and Sami Khedira suffering from a few too many injuries last season. The Bianconeri have thus reportedly tabled a €22 million offer for Zenit St Petersburg midfielder Axel Witsel, according to Italian news outlet Tuttosport.

Juventus have been targetting Witsel for over a year now, with the midfielder confirming his intentions to leave Zenit earlier this summer. The 27-year-old Belgian international is currently in the driver’s seat with regards to the negotiations with Zenit since he has just one year left on his contract with the Russian club.

LILLE, FRANCE - JULY 01: Axel Witsel of Belgium gestures action during the UEFA EURO 2016 quarter final match between Wales and Belgium at Stade Pierre-Mauroy on July 1, 2016 in Lille, France. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Marchisio’s injury has forced Juve table a bid for Witsel. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

“I cannot say that I will 100 percent leave, but we have not held talks over a new deal and my intention is to leave this summer,” said Witsel towards the end of last season. However, Juventus face stiff competition from Chelsea, who have also shown a keen interest in Witsel after newly appointed manager Antonio Conte failed to lure AS Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan to the English capital.

While Juventus’ bid is significantly lesser than the €30 million offer from Everton (that was turned down earlier this summer), the Bianconeri are said to believe that €22 million is enough to land a player who wants to “play in a bigger league”, and has just one year left on his contract with his current club.

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