Barcelona are reportedly eyeing a move for Belgian international Axel Witsel, who has been linked with the likes of Juventus and Chelsea.

Italian publication Calciomercato, in an exclusive, are reporting Barcelona have entered the race to sign Zenit St. Petersburg midfielder Axel Witsel. The Belgian international has been on the radar of Juventus and Chelsea since the summer. But according to the latest reports, Barcelona seems to have joined the fray.

Axel Witsel is a 27-year-old box-to-box midfielder who is a regular face in the Belgian national team. Witsel arrived at Zenit from Benfica and has been a mainstay in the Russian outfit’s starting eleven. In the present season, the midfielder has played in all but one of the side’s Russian Premier League matches with a decent return of 1 goal and 2 assists to show for his cause.

Paul Pogba’s departure from Juventus has left a gaping hole at the middle of the park, one they wish to patch with the potential transfer of Axel Witsel. The Bianconeri were heavily linked with a summer transfer for Witsel and the Belgian was extremely close to moving to Turin. But the move collapsed.

Running into the minds of Barcelona. (Picture Courtesy - AFP/Getty Images)

Running into the minds of Barcelona. (Picture Courtesy – AFP/Getty Images)

Juventus, however, are adamant on securing the player’s services but have seen Chelsea emerge as a potential suitor for the Belgian. Antonio Conte is seeking strong powerful options for the midfield as the Blues prepare for a title charge. Witsel’s contract is up for expiry at the end of the present season and while he is available for free in the summer of 2017, Juventus have been seeking a cut-price January deal for the 27-year-old.

But now, Barcelona are also showing interest in acquiring the player on a free transfer. The Blaugrana’s interest could throw Juventus off in their bid to achieve a transfer for the player in January. The report sated that the midfielder prefers a move to Juventus, especially as he rejected Everton’s €15m offer.

But Barcelona’s interest may make Witsel have second thoughts. For Juventus, though, it is now more imperative that they act now and seal a deal in January itself for Witsel. Else, they run the risk of interest from Barcelona, and perhaps many other potential suitors, foiling their attempts.

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