Arsenal Transfer Target Axel Witsel: All You Want to Know About the Belgian
Axel Witsel, probably the most hated figure among RSC Anderlecht fans, has been linked with a move to Arsenal since his father commented that Witsel's dream is to play for Arsenal.
As the player himself is keen on a move to a bigger league to take his game to the next level, Arsene Wenger could sign him for a nominal fee.
The Belgian Pro League 2008 player of the season, Witsel represents a typical Wenger signing. He's young, talented and relatively unknown.
The £8.8 million-rated starlet made his debut for Standard Liege in 2006 and has been a regular fixture in the Belgian club since. His good performances were rewarded with a call-up to the the National side in 2008 and has fared well on the International stage too.
The 22-year-old midfielder is now set to move on to bigger and better things after his successful stint in the Belgian first division, with a number of Serie A sides showing interest in securing the future of the prodigious talent.
The 2007-08 Belgian Young Footballer though looks more likely to move to the Premier League with Liverpool and Newcastle also reported to be interested.
Witsel's biggest strength is his aggressive and competitive approach to Football. A technically-gifted central midfielder, Witsel is quick on his feet and has pace to run at defenders, which is why he was deployed as a winger in the early part of his career.
His defensive qualities shouldn't go unnoticed amidst his attacking attributes. Witsel is a robust character and a nasty tackler.
Two years ago, he was widely criticized for a horrendous tackle on Anderlecht's Marcin Wasilewski that sidelined the latter for nine months with a broken leg.
As a result, Witsel was banned for eight games. A player of that ilk would find the Premier League a safe haven, as horrific tackles usually go unnoticed and players are expected to be aggressive and tenacious.
Witsel would also fortify Arsenal's relatively feeble midfield. A criticism often levelled at Arsenal is their lack of aggression and competitiveness. Witsel could be the answer to that.
However, his technical quality shouldn't be mired in the darker side of his game.
Witsel is also a goalscorer, who times his runs to perfection and has great tactical awareness. These attributes make him a good box-to-box midfielder. And Arsenal desperately need such a player to make Alex Song earn his place in the starting 11 as well as to replace the injury-prone Abou Diaby.
He has scored 10 goals and further assisted four this season and overall 41 goals in 179 appearances for Standard Liege—a good return for a central midfielder.
Question mark is apparently over witsel's temperament, but if a manager can moderate his overtly aggressive side and fine tune his talents, we might see a top-class player in a few years time.
This strong 6 foot-tall technically sound player in the middle of the park would make Arsenal a more competitive side.
For a change, Wenger should ponder signing the sturdy Belgian for a sum that's very much within Arsenal's range.
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