Premier League heavyweights Chelsea and Serie A Champions Juventus have both shown interest in Belgian midfielder Axel Witsel, but his current club’s new asking price could ward off  I Bianconeri

Juventus had launched a last ditch effort to sign Witsel this past summer, but the move failed to materialize. It now looks like the Italian giants will have to look elsewhere to bolster their midfield, as Zenit St Petersburg have named their asking price.

Zenit want €10 million for Witsel, whose contract runs out at the end of this season, according to Goal. It is a big sum for a player who has already made it clear that he will not be extending his stay at the Russian club and is on the verge of becoming a free agent.

The report adds that Juventus are willing to offer €6 million plus bonuses for the 27-year-old. The club are believed to already have a five-year contract waiting for him in Turin, but the transfer fee negotiations are deadlocked because of Zenit’s asking price.

However the Old Lady will have to move quickly if they want to stave off the competition. Chelsea were linked with a move for Witsel this past summer, and the London giants will probably be more than willing to meet an asking price that falls far short of massive.

Blues manager Antonio Conte reportedly wants to sign Witsel as a replacement for China-bound Oscar, but it was believed so far that Juventus were the favourites to snap him up.

Portugal's Nani (R) fights for the ball with Belgium's Axel Witsel (L) during the friendly soccer match between Portugal and Belgium at Magalhaes Pessoa Stadium in Leiria, Portugal, 29 March 2016. (Photo by Manuel De Almeida/EPA)

Portugal’s Nani (R) fights for the ball with Belgium’s Axel Witsel (L) during the friendly soccer match between Portugal and Belgium at Magalhaes Pessoa Stadium in Leiria, Portugal, 29 March 2016. (Photo courtesy Manuel De Almeida/EPA)

Chelsea aren’t in desperate need of a midfielder at the moment. Nemanja Matic and N’golo Kante have cemented their spots in Conte’s midfield, while Cesc Fabregas is making a strong case for selection of late.

However, the strength of the squad could be an issue playing in the mind of Conte. The Blues aren’t involved in European competition this season, but look set to qualify for the Champions League. In that case, they will need world class back-up for their current starting XI, and Witsel may prove to be an intelligent choice.

The 27-year-old Belgian is a mainstay in the national side, and an efficient central midfielder. He is a calm and assured presence in the midfield, and would probably not be too fussed about playing a rotational role in the first team.

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