Manchester United Transfer Rumours: Axel Witsel Ideal Move for Midfield Makeover
Manchester United is in the process of revamping the center of its midfield and Axel Witsel is a tough, gritty player who is an ideal complement to the other players in the middle of the pitch.
According to talkSPORT, Benfica is willing to sell the Belgian midfielder, and United manager Alex Ferguson is fond of the Witsel’s skill set.
The report states, “According to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, Benfica are ready to sanction the sale of Witsel this summer. However, the Portuguese side are demanding £20m for the Belgium international…”
This may be a steep price to pay, but Ferguson will likely try to talk Benfica officials down from that starting point. In addition, Witsel will be cheaper than Javi Martinez, another one of the team’s targets who plays the same position. The Atletico Bilbao star will cost at least £25 million, according to Matt Lawton and Alex Kay of the Daily Mail.
Witsel is an ideal target for United this summer. He is just 23 years old and brings a level of tenacity to the midfield that none of the other United players can match.
His aggressiveness does not come without controversy, and he was banned for eight matches in 2009 matches after a brutal tackle, which broke an opposing player’s leg.
But these heavy-handed tactics are reminiscent of one of Man U’s greatest players ever—Roy Keane. Captain Fantastic brought an edge to the midfield that no player has been able to equal since he left Old Trafford.
This is not to say that Witsel will ever be as good as Keane, but the Irishman’s fierce play in the center of the pitch was one of the most imposing characteristics of the dominant sides of the late '90s and early 2000s.
Witsel can bring the same daunting physical presence that Keane brought, and this will allow creative players like Shinji Kagawa and Tom Cleverley to flourish.
Would Axel Witsel be a wise purchase for United?
If Ferguson shells out the money for Witsel, the results likely would not be seen immediately. With veteran players like Paul Scholes, Michael Carrick and Ryan Giggs still in the side, the Belgian may not get into most matches.
But none of those elder statesmen are the future of the team, and Ferguson is wise to start stockpiling young talent.
A midfield trio of Witsel, Cleverley and Kagawa would be an excellent foundation moving forward. All three players are young and talented, and their skill sets fit together perfectly.
Sir Alex is a keen judge of talent and masterful tactician, and this move will continue to prove those two assessments.
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