Why Manchester United should go all out for Axel Witsel in January
According to a report from the Manchester Evening News, Borussia Dortmund midfielder Axel Witsel has claimed he could have signed for Manchester United last summer while Jose Mourinho was still the manager.
The Belgium international, 30, was playing for Chinese side Tianjin Quanjian before he secured his move to Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2018, following a chat with the club’s Sporting Director Michael Zorc and manager Lucien Favre. He went on to play a starring role at the German giants, playing 36 times in his debut season at the club.
And Axel Witsel has started the 2019/20 campaign very well, bagging two assists in as many Bundesliga games. Given how well he has been playing for Dortmund, Manchester United must rekindle their interest and try signing the Belgian in the January transfer window.
The Red Devils’ midfield seems to be Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s problem position having sold Marouane Fellaini in January and released Ander Herrera at the end of last season.
After signing Daniel James, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire, Solskjaer failed to bring in a new midfielder which has left his squad very light in that department.
In fact, Paul Pogba, who thrives in an advanced role, has been used alongside Scott McTominay as a double-pivot in the middle of the park. Solskjaer has the likes of Nemanja Matic and Fred as options in the reserves, but the former doesn’t suit the Norwegian tactician’s style of play while the latter is still short of match fitness.
That’s when signing someone like Axel Witsel would make sense for United. Extremely comfortable on the ball, the Belgium international can play a variety of roles in the middle of the park.
He is equally adept at sitting in front of the defence and dictating play, as he is at going forward in a more attacking role.
Having a knack for pin-point through balls and ability to recycle possession, the former Benfica man also embraces his defensive duties with ease due.
Having an experienced player like Witsel alongside McTominay would aid the youngster’s development and also allow Pogba to be pushed further forward, releasing him of the defensive duties that he isn’t exactly known for.
Having already strengthened the defence and the attack over the summer, Solskjaer should aim to bolster his midfield unit in January.
Bringing in Witsel would be a smart decision and one that would increase United’s chances of achieving a top-four finish this season.