Manchester United Transfer News: Axel Witsel's Immediate Potential Role Unclear
If Manchester United wants to challenge for a title in the immediate future, perhaps they should look for a different signing than Benfica midfielder Axel Witsel.
According to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf (via talkSPORT), both United and Chelsea are pursuing Witsel, and Benfica is willing to let him go for a fairly steep £20 million. Benfica bought him for £6.3 million from Standard Liege.
Witsel evokes memories of Roy Keane because of his rough-and-tumble style in the midfield. His inclusion in the squad would allow more creative players room to work.
As long as he doesn’t go too far with it—as he did when he broke Marcil Wasilewski’s leg and received an eight-match ban—Witsel could be a good player for United not just now, but in the future. The Red Devils need a midfield enforcer.
However, he is nowhere near Keane’s caliber right now. Furthermore, with Paul Scholes, Michael Carrick and Ryan Giggs still on the team, it’s not likely Witsel would see playing time anytime soon.
Witsel could be a signing for the future, but if United wants to take the Premier League championship back from their blue rivals next year, they need to focus more on the present.
Still, Witsel would provide depth in the midfield for older players who might not be able to play 90 minutes every week. With cup competitions, Witsel would likely get his fair share of starts as well.
The only problem with him being a depth player is the price tag.
It would be hard to justify shelling out the money that Benfica wants just to get a bench player in return. His form dropped last season, as he scored just five goals in 48 total appearances, as compared to his 12 goals in 43 games in his final season with Standard Liege.
In the end, it may be wisest for United to just pass on Witsel, unless it can talk Benfica’s price down by a hefty amount.
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