Everton lodge bid for Witsel

1 July  186 Comments  [Jump to last]
Everton could be set to sign Axel Witsel in a club-record deal if they can agree terms with Zenit St Petersburg and the Belgian's representatives..

Writing for Squawka, Daily Star journalist Paul Brown claims that a fee of £30m has been agreed with Zenit and that the transfer can be completed after Euro2016 but while an offer has been made, there is no confirmation yet that it has been accepted.

The 27-year-old's father has confirmed that an offer for his son has been made but he stressed that Witsel is also wanted by Napoli while Chelsea are also said to be interested after an attempt to sign his teammate Radja Nainggolan went nowhere. The Blues are in pole position, however, if this report is to be believed.

“There has also been an offer from Everton," Witsel Sr told Radio Crc. "We will evaluate all the offers and take time to decide so the negotiations will continue”.

Meanwhile, Everton continue to be linked with Juan Mata, more by rumor than media coverage, who could be surplus to requirements at Manchester United.

Quotes sourced from Squawka

Reader Comments (186)

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Chris Fidler
1 Posted 01/07/2016 at 17:05:55
Would like both Witzel and Mata, would really make a statement of intent
Anthony Dwyer
2 Posted 01/07/2016 at 17:16:45
All our future players away at the Euros....

Muller, Witzel, Greezman, De Gaye and Pogba.

Looking good :-)

Dennis Ng
3 Posted 01/07/2016 at 17:18:11
LOL Anthony, great dream to have
Tom Bowers
4 Posted 01/07/2016 at 17:21:50
Forget this rumour. Aint gonna happen.
Conor Skelly
5 Posted 01/07/2016 at 17:22:56
Class player and just the type of signing that will finally convince me that this isn't a dream and we have actually got money to spend.
Nigel Munford
6 Posted 01/07/2016 at 17:28:16
Glass half empty Tom?
Neil Wood
8 Posted 01/07/2016 at 17:38:30
This would be a statement
Ray Roche
9 Posted 01/07/2016 at 17:38:56
"Daily Star" and "Journalist" in the same sentence? Who'd have thought it......
Mark Ryan
10 Posted 01/07/2016 at 17:51:53
Would be a comfort signing for Lukaku knowing one of his countrymen was joining us. Get him, Kovacic, Blind and a top goalie.
Jay Harris
11 Posted 01/07/2016 at 17:53:46
There is no such thing as a journalist anymore Ray.

Just call them rumourmongers for short.

However I would love to believe this one even though I feel Chelsea may steal him.

David Chait
12 Posted 01/07/2016 at 17:53:49
Would be a cracking signing and love for it to be true! Considering I want Besic as my first choice DFM I might let it slide for this guy... Him and Besic would be awesome though!
Peter Gorman
13 Posted 01/07/2016 at 17:58:19
I don't understand the love for this guy - he is, alright, fine, ok, acceptable. And 30 million is surely too much.

Many years ago when we played Standard Liege I thought he looked ok. Since then he has gone on to be ok in the Russian League. Would rather we kept our powder dry for someone who can actually improve us in our weakest areas. Juan Mata for one.

James Hughes
14 Posted 01/07/2016 at 18:00:03
Another player from the Russian league ? we have a great record
Paul Ellam
15 Posted 01/07/2016 at 18:01:23
It's nice to be linked to these "better type" of players but the downside is that you build your hopes up and sometimes get nothing.
I'd rather hear nothing and then get a great big surprise when they are signed and holding the club shirt!
Ian Bennett
16 Posted 01/07/2016 at 18:04:52
I hope not. Disappointed with his showing.
Frank Crewe
17 Posted 01/07/2016 at 18:07:57
Maybe we should just wait to see what country wins the Euro's and just buy their entire squad?
James Stewart
18 Posted 01/07/2016 at 18:12:44
Would love Witsel, powerhouse in the middle just what we need.
Roger Sunde
19 Posted 01/07/2016 at 18:16:41
Careful, Frank, then we might end up with a lot of Icelanders... :)
Fran Mitchell
20 Posted 01/07/2016 at 18:17:32
Very good player.

Seems Koeman is going for players in their prime. This is good, as it shows he is actually gonna go for it. Too often 'potential' is bought and then used as a justification for 'patience'.

But, would like to see a couple of high quality 20/21 year olds brought in too.

Fran Mitchell
21 Posted 01/07/2016 at 18:19:49
In terms of the fee.

Watford turned town 38 million for ighalo. 30 can't even get you Troy deeney. And gayle went to Newcastle for 10 million. Prices are crazy, but that is how it is.

Gary Seed
22 Posted 01/07/2016 at 18:20:22
Without being a world superstar, I would certainly welcome his signature. He would certainly add quality to our midfield.

I think we need to be careful not to run before we can walk here. Yes, we have investment at long last but to listen to some of our supporters we have suddenly turned into Chelsea or Man City.

I have complete trust in Koeman and whoever he buys. Just let's see where we go.

Peter McHugh
23 Posted 01/07/2016 at 18:27:59
If true hope I'm wrong but agree with Peter 12#. As a song went (might have been public enemy no 1) "don't believe the hype". I don't see why he's so good. Don't get me wrong if we sign him I will defer to Ronald's judgment as don't know much about him - I just don't understand how most people on here rate him so highly, do you watch Zenit highlight / games all the time?

If we we're signing Mata and Fellaini (who I still think is good) I would be made up. Anyway good to be linked with spending £30m on a player!!!

Peter McHugh
24 Posted 01/07/2016 at 18:33:38
Frank 16# maybe but let's hope it's not Iceland that win the Euro's then!
Phillip Mark
25 Posted 01/07/2016 at 18:35:16
Decent signing. Seems a lot though. I wouldn't say he's the standout in the Belgian team.
Martin Berry
26 Posted 01/07/2016 at 18:37:54
Sky Sports have Redshite as favourites for him.
Ian Glassey
27 Posted 01/07/2016 at 18:39:31
Poor lad will be done in after a tough season and the Euro's , still they will be out to night so he can have a bit of R & R.
Mick Davies
28 Posted 01/07/2016 at 18:45:23
Another whining, ego-tripping Belgian? Another Russian League player? . . . . . hmmm, hope it doesn't end in the usual acrimony (Fellaini, Liaku, Mirallas) or disappointment (McGeady, Bily, Niasse)
Steve Jones
29 Posted 01/07/2016 at 18:46:12
So how do we play Mata, Barkley and Witsel together?. Barkley as an outright no.10 with Witsel deeper...where does Mata fit?.

Cant get a picture of this in my head.

Ray Roche
30 Posted 01/07/2016 at 18:48:02
Stekelenberg has signed now, according to the official site.
Paul Black
31 Posted 01/07/2016 at 18:53:51
Well, so much for Ron getting to know the players before he starts spending))) Great stuff.
David Chait
32 Posted 01/07/2016 at 18:55:47
Does Koeman play one or two defensive midfielders. That would answer how do they fit.. And this Mata link seems tenuous anyway.. For me it would be Barkley alongside Witsel with Mata as 10.
Steve Rimmer
33 Posted 01/07/2016 at 18:58:31
It is now being reported his father has confirmed this ... stating Napoli also interested .... on Italian radio.
Mike Gaynes
34 Posted 01/07/2016 at 19:08:11
Steve Jones #25, picture this instead.... Barkley in the #9 spot supporting Lukaku, with Witsel flanking #10 Mata in midfield.

That would allow Barkley to use his instinctive attacking drive and goalscoring talent without having to think, which he has proven incapable of doing.

Don't know why it's so hard to let go of the notion that he's a #10, but he isn't and never will be. Collymore and the coaches he quotes are absolutely right... genius talent, no footballing brain.

Kevin Rowlands
35 Posted 01/07/2016 at 19:08:36
FM #18, we already have a couple of high quality youngsters in the 1st set up now in Davies and Dowell. Hope this happens, top player.
Denver Daniels
36 Posted 01/07/2016 at 19:19:56
I think we could use the money elsewhere, like for a top class playmaker, GK or striker.

This guy is ok, but do we really need him when we have Besic, Barry and McCarthy all doing the same thing?

He might be better than those three but not 30 million pounds better.

Les Martin
37 Posted 01/07/2016 at 19:22:05
I cannot believe the moaning naysayers on this site when a player of Witsels class, just "may" have a chance to come to Everton.

Rob Dolby
38 Posted 01/07/2016 at 19:34:22
He isn't that good and always flatters to deceive. Give Tom Davies a chance and hopefully Ronald can get Ross to become more aggresive which will help in centre mid.
We need to be looking at strikers and a left mid, gutted we missed out on Townsend.
Any new players have to show aggression and will to win matches we have enough fancy dans.
Craig Harrison
39 Posted 01/07/2016 at 19:42:56
If the plan was to give Davies and the youngsters a chance then Unsworth would be the manager. That's not the plan, that's why we brought in Koeman, to get players in now that can make us win now not in 3-4 years.
Sam Hoare
40 Posted 01/07/2016 at 20:00:38
Wow, standards are high here when people aren't happy with Witsel! He's a high profile player who is very well thought of around Europe. That doesn't mean he'll be a success of course but he's a different class to the likes of McCarthy and Barry.

Rob@32 I'm curious why you're upset about Townsend given you think we have enough fancy dans? Surely that's exactly what he is....

Mike Allen
41 Posted 01/07/2016 at 20:01:14
£30 million.... £30 fuckin' million!!! I've said it before, shopping in the Russian League is like shopping in the Pound shop and paying Harrods prices.

Are we ?63;30 mill desperate to get this guy or is it a case of "but he's available"?

Frank Crewe
42 Posted 01/07/2016 at 20:11:22
There seems to be a contingent on this board who appear to be unhappy with any player we are linked with. Too old, too young, too cheap, too expensive, Too lazy, some other clubs cast off, eyeball too close together. Apparently no player is good enough for Everton.
Andrew Ellams
43 Posted 01/07/2016 at 20:11:48
He'll do for me and Townsend has found his level.
David Milner
44 Posted 01/07/2016 at 20:17:20
Excellent signing if true. Forget the russian league (niasse) we are able to see for ourselves with the Euros. Will also hold his value.
Martin Mason
45 Posted 01/07/2016 at 20:25:09

There's a contingent on this board that would complain if we won the Champions league 10-0 in the final against Barcelona.

Difficult to comment on transfer rumours and actual deals. RK has a clear picture of what he wants and how he'll configure the team. We'll see whether he was right or wrong in a season or maybe two.

I for one hope that the club looks for value in its buys and uses the massive value that it has locked up in our younger players like Davies.

I would really love to see Mata at Everton if the price was right

Kevin Rowlands
46 Posted 01/07/2016 at 20:36:38
Townsend??? No thanks, we've already got our own little Spanish show pony, no need for an English one as well.
Paul Burns
47 Posted 01/07/2016 at 21:02:41
Certain players just click at certain clubs, you never know when its going to happen.
I remember being in a boozer in London in 1983 when a fellow scouser heard my accent and told me we'd just signed Andy Gray.
"What do we need that washed up old has-been for?" was my reaction to that news.
How wrong can you be?
Fran Mitchell
48 Posted 01/07/2016 at 21:05:59
"This guy is ok, but do we really need him when we have Besic, Barry and McCarthy all doing the same thing?"

This is exactly the type of thinking that results in stagnation and regression.

Mike T Jones
49 Posted 01/07/2016 at 21:09:40
Denver #36.....he is £30 mill better than those players. He is.
Denis Richardson
50 Posted 01/07/2016 at 21:34:08
Boom. Love this to happen.

Sell McCarthy, Besic and Cleverley as well while we're at it. Don't want any of these to be first teamers and they're too expensive to be squad players.

Let the clear out continue.

Steve Guy
51 Posted 01/07/2016 at 21:39:59
Punching at a new weight. Class act. Luvin it
Andrew Ellams
52 Posted 01/07/2016 at 21:43:49
So he's free to sign tomorrow then.
Trevor Lynes
53 Posted 01/07/2016 at 21:44:34
Barkley would be better as an impact sub as his stamina is a problem IMO.I would either start Barkley and sub him at the hour mark or bring him on at the hour mark.He has never shown himself to be a 90 minute man.Witsel has energy to burn and he is a genuine box to box midfielder.Mata could be our play maker and would cost less than the younger one's.He is an intelligent player and has good ball control.
Dave Abrahams
54 Posted 01/07/2016 at 21:46:13
He was on the pitch tonight, did he play?
Rob Dolby
55 Posted 01/07/2016 at 21:47:08
Anyone watching witsels performance tonight must see that he isn't goid enough.
Christy Ring
56 Posted 01/07/2016 at 21:50:17
Wales a superb result against Belgium, and you wouldn't know that Witsel was even on the field.
Sam Hoare
57 Posted 01/07/2016 at 21:55:43
Pretty sure you don't wanna base your transfers just on tournament form. Anyone fancy Robson-Kanu up front next season over Harry Kane?

If we get Witsel it will be based on his form over last few seasons and not just weeks.

Well done Wales!

Jackie Barry
58 Posted 01/07/2016 at 21:55:57
Club Country performances completely different. Also you have to question the manager when you have that much talent at hand.
Jackie Barry
59 Posted 01/07/2016 at 21:59:20
At least we can sort out whether we sign this guy and the Lukaku situation.
Rob Dolby
60 Posted 01/07/2016 at 21:59:23
@sam 40. I don't think Townsend is a lightweight. He scores and assists he impacts games he is left footed and plays on the wing. We are desperate for a left sided mid as we havent had one for ages but thats old news now. My point is that we want players who have desire to win and witsel isn't one of them.
Brendan Fox
61 Posted 01/07/2016 at 22:00:28
Bang average given tonight's showing against Wales so no thanks as it would be money down the toilet. Better quality elsewhere for the money.
Tony Hill
62 Posted 01/07/2016 at 22:01:43
Trust the manager or we're fucked already.
Dennis Ng
63 Posted 01/07/2016 at 22:04:43

Every time I see a "marquee" player linked for insane money, I shudder in fear. I like the Stekelenburg deal. Cheap and purposeful, could be a shrewd deal. I don't mind us signing cheap "underwhelming" players as long as they make our team better.

Hype is nothing. Fight is everything as shown by Wales and Iceland. AND Leicester.

Jackie Barry
64 Posted 01/07/2016 at 22:04:43
I have seen him play at club level, he's been class. Also he has won things at club level, which is more than most of our current lads. Based on englands showing none of their players should be worth anything.
Jackie Barry
65 Posted 01/07/2016 at 22:06:39
Belgium have class players but underperform at club level, I remember Holland struggling the same way, they should have ruled but didn't.
Jackie Barry
66 Posted 01/07/2016 at 22:08:32
Should say country level edit wont work
David Chait
67 Posted 01/07/2016 at 22:09:46
Personally I want the budget thrown at creative talents to feed the striker. I have such belief that Besic is the real deal and I want Barkley as our number 8... So not fussed if we don't sign another DFM... My worry is seeing Mcarthy as first choice next season. Does my head in!
Christy Ring
68 Posted 01/07/2016 at 22:16:27
David 67#, I for one, Hope McCarthy is first choice next season, as a defensive midfielder, his proper position. He was superb there for Ireland, against Italy and France.
Jim Bailey
70 Posted 01/07/2016 at 22:25:06
Was he actually playing tonight?
£30 million, no thanks.
Jeff Armstrong
71 Posted 01/07/2016 at 22:34:01
Witsel was anonymous tonight, why pay 㿊 million for someone to do a water carriers job when you already have 2 or 3 who can do that job anyway?

Spend the money on a couple of decent striking alternatives, a proper goalkeeper or a good left-sided creative midfielder. Let the RS have him and move on.

Bill Griffiths
72 Posted 01/07/2016 at 22:38:40
Looked crap to me tonight but if rumours are true then I guess we have to trust in RK's judgement.
Michael Neely
74 Posted 01/07/2016 at 22:46:01
I just don't see this. Lots of people saying he's a cracking player but on what evidence? Certainly not Euro2016 because quite frankly he's been nothing but ordinary,and, against Wales tonight he demonstrated all the vision of Stevie Wonder. For £30m I'd want a bit better than Witsel.
Jay Harris
76 Posted 01/07/2016 at 22:51:58
I do believe he would improve our MF based on the last 2 years rather than the last 10 days but I still cant help wonder if Fellaini would be a better bet as we need goals from MF and Witsel doesnt do goals and neither do McCarthy or Barry. Plus Fellaini adds another option as he is so tall for corners and free kicks.
Sam Hoare
77 Posted 01/07/2016 at 22:54:10
I reckon he will go to Napoli anyway.
Aidy Dews
78 Posted 01/07/2016 at 22:54:10
Jesus, reading some of these posts and some aren't half hard to please! Thankfully Koeman will of watched Witsel and had him watched numerous times before passing judgement unlike some on here. Had a bad game tonight and some want to write him off.

I can remember when Standard Liege came to town in the late 2000's in the Europa and most, if not all Evertonians wanted the likes of Witsel, Defour & Mbokani! Yet cos he plays in Russia and hasn't played in a big league or had a good Euros everyone has changed their minds...

The lad on his day is a really good player and an improvement on anything we have in CM! He's a box to box midfielder that will get stuck in and get forward and chip in with goals, but can play and were crying out for that type of midfielder imo and I hope there's some truth to all this and we can sign him. Personally I think he'd be a great addition.

James Morgan
79 Posted 01/07/2016 at 23:02:00
Sam, spot on. Kane was poor but we'd all love him at Everton. Has Ronaldo done much at this tournament? Not really so I guess we wouldn't want him either.
Hamsik? Nah, Napoli can keep him.
Tell you what, let's get Joe Allen and Whatshisnameson of Iceland.
Chris Gould
80 Posted 01/07/2016 at 23:09:40
I don't think he's worth 30 million. It's crazy how many premier league clubs are bidding 30 mill like it's nothing. He's one dimensional and lacks pace. He has never performed in a decent league and he was bang average at the Euros. He isn't even a young kid with bags of potential.
Conor McGregor
81 Posted 01/07/2016 at 23:10:40
Witsel is overrated, we should stay well clear.

Ronald should buy the Polish No 10 that plays for Sevilla, a powerhouse of a midfielder.

Come on, Mr Moishiri, get your cheque book out and quick!

Mike T Jones
82 Posted 01/07/2016 at 23:11:12
Jim Bailey #70. Did any Belgian international actually play tonight?

Having thought about it would you say De Bruyne isn't worth his price? or Hazard?

I want Champions League and trophies for Everton, not mid table. Witzel is a start. We (Everton) are now in a different place in the Premier League era. There may be hits and misses. But good times are here.

Let's all stop the pessimism....we will be at the top table soon enough

Denver Daniels
83 Posted 01/07/2016 at 23:48:19
Fran #48,

I just think the money could be spent better. Like on attack-minded players.

We have enough holding midfielders, unless we sell a few.

The one Belgian I would sign would be Carrasco.

John Malone
84 Posted 02/07/2016 at 00:08:39
Break the bank for Perisic from Croatia!

A workhorse with quality!

Peter Gorman
85 Posted 01/07/2016 at 00:11:57
To Les, Sam, Frank et al, just a few rebuttals before beddy-byes;

"I cannot believe the moaning naysayers on this site when a player of Witsels class, just "may" have a chance to come to Everton."

I am a naysayer and if I wasn't clear I am suggesting that maybe Witsel isn't actually all that class. Certainly I hoped 30 million bought more class than him.

"Wow, standards are high here when people aren't happy with Witsel! He's a high profile player who is very well thought of around Europe."

Can you cite anything to suggest he is well thought of around Europe other than the fact he plays for Belgium? I've watched a few games of his at Zenit and personally don't see anything special about him, competent enough as he is. Where are people saying he is anything but competent?

"There seems to be a contingent on this board who appear to be unhappy with any player we are linked with. Apparently no player is good enough for Everton."

Ah ok, not me then. I am just saying that Witsel is probably not good enough for Everton. I'd take Pelle at the reported 7 million in a heartbeat.

John Pierce
86 Posted 02/07/2016 at 00:52:54
Koeman prefers both his CM to be just that central midfielders, not DMF players, I would judge both by who we've been linked too and the report above that Barry's days are numbered

Both midfielders have to bable to break play up and get up the field to the help the team unit pressure in the opponents defensive third. GB is not that kind of player

Were I'm not so impressed is a midfield say of JM & AW lacks goals, neither player has a great record of breaking beyond the play and scoring. That is not to say neither aren't capable, it would just take a huge mindset change to get 5 goals from each!

I think every player RK buys needs to be goal threat even the CB! I almost understood why RM wasn't fond of corners, who was gonna score from them?

Witsel is worth it for the publicity and sginals we are trying to send to other players out there, okay not totally worth the price tag but thats part of thinking big!

Value for money went out the door the day we got Moshiri, and hurrah for that!

Anthony Dwyer
87 Posted 02/07/2016 at 01:03:47
One thing that worries me a little about the Witzel deal is the fact he doesn't look like he's brimming with goals.

Add him to Besic, McCarthy, Barry, Gibson or Cleverly and add Sniederlan and you have 7 centre midfielders with barely a goal between them.

I personally like the look of Wijaldum, he's full of energy and scores goals, he reminds me of Tim Cahill.

Mata is an interesting link, but he is neither a wide player or quick, and IMO we need to add a quick left winger to our ranks, Mata is best suited to Barkley's roll.

It will be interesting to see who we actually sign, as its starting to look like players want to join our league even if the teams they are signing for are not in the Champions league.

Id like us to sign a couple of top quality young players, preferably ready to make an instant impact, in the way Lukaku has.

Wijaldum of Newcastle is 25, Milik and Jansen from the Dutch league are in the right age bracket, and Forester and Van Dike are also in the same age bracket.

Januzi may be worth a punt, he's got bags of talent but seems to have gone stale at united. Mitravic of Newcastle is also a prospect, not a first team starter, but he could certainly be something worth hanging onto for the future.

If the current players linked with us are genuine links then I don't feel we have sell on value in them. Mata, Snieder, Nani, Scott Dann are all at an age were we will pay out more than we will ever receive back. That's not the ideal scenario, we have to box clever with our new found funds as we don't know how long they will last.

Phil Jeffries
88 Posted 02/07/2016 at 01:42:38
What is it with Belgian's and their Dad's?! Lukaku Snr and Witsel Snr could have a 'mouth off'. Good player though.
Don Alexander
89 Posted 02/07/2016 at 01:51:43
I don't know anything more about this guy than what I've seen in the ongoing tournament. He reminds me of Ray Wilkins on Prozac.
Teddy Bertin
90 Posted 02/07/2016 at 02:25:32
Have to disagree with those slagging him off. Have you actually watched him this tournament. Belgian's stand out player (bar 1 great 2nd half from Hazard). Top passer of the ball, great in the air and a real presence on the pitch. Perfect for the premier league.

Not quite sure what people are expecting from players. Do people on here think that Pogba is better because of the occasional outside of boot pass he sprays around? Witsel would be a shrewd signing to take our midfield up a level. Massive step up from Mcarthy and a better all round player than Barry.

Phil Jeffries
91 Posted 02/07/2016 at 02:49:33
Spare a thought for all the market traders dusting down all their unsold Fellaini wigs!
John Daley
92 Posted 02/07/2016 at 03:45:01
Exactly the sort of player we need in my opinion. Not only for his ability but also his attitude. He's not cut from the same 'mouth stitched shut' cloth the majority of this current Everton squad are, he's always appeared to be something of a leader on the pitch for every team he's turned out for and, at times, there seems to be a slight nasty streak/sore loser nark' air about him that would help stiffen the 'thoroughly nice chap' soft centre that has allowed other team's grocks to trod all over us with fuck all trepidation for far too long now.

Whether £30m is over the odds or not is neither here nor there. It's not coming out of my bank account so why bother my arse worrying about whether the club pay a premium to snare a certain player or pull it off by simply scrabbling around the back of the settee for spare slummy?

John Daley
93 Posted 02/07/2016 at 03:59:13
A couple of recent pieces on Witsel that some might find interesting:

"Having only played in Belgium, Portugal and Russia, the Belgian midfield destroyer might not have been tested in any of the top leagues in Europe just yet. Even still, his quality is virtually beyond questioning. It's no exaggeration to say that Standard Liège, Benfica and Zenit St. Petersburg have each built their midfields around the player.

Like Spurs' Mousa Dembélé and Eric Dier, Witsel is talented at virtually every angle of midfield. His tackling veers toward the sublime, his passing is calm and deliberate and he even finds a way to press forward when his team has possession.

That's just the kind of dogged, endlessly relentless midfielder that Premier League typically fawn over. That they haven't made a move for Witsel sooner is less a testament to any lack of interest and more an indication of just how reluctant his clubs have been to part with him. Zenit only acquired Witsel after handing over the equivalent of £32 million to Benfica in 2012, and they purportedly pay him a salary well in excess of the typical Russian Premier League player. English clubs know that it would take even more for Zenit to agree to part with the player just as he is reaching the peak of his abilities.

Spurs and other clubs' interest is piquing now mostly because Witsel's contract with the reigning Russian champions is due to expire by the end of next season. Zenit could attempt to offer the player another contract, of course, but the allure of English Premier League ball might be too much for the 27-year-old."


"One French columnist referred to him as Belgium's Swiss Army Knife. What was meant was that, in a team of many virtuosos, Axel Witsel is all-purpose, a player with tools to solve every problem. His tackles have a sharp cutting edge, too, so sharp they have on occasion put him in trouble.

According to his head coach, Marc Wilmots, Witsel is pretty much the first name on Belgium's teamsheet, straight in at the centre of midfield while the outlying roles are filled with famous names, backed up by equally famous ones on the bench. Eden Hazard is Belgium's captain, in the absence of the injured Vincent Kompany. Witsel is Belgium's general, with extra stripes and epaulettes on his shoulders when Kompany is unable to provide his instinctive leadership.

Yet, while Witsel's metronomic consistency and care in possession is valued by Wilmots, he divides opinion among pundits and public.

At Euro 2016, where Belgium have soared in two matches – against Hungary and Republic of Ireland – and looked rather less than the sum of their parts in their two others, against Italy and Sweden, Witsel has maintained high standards. The data-collectors who monitor distribution have him clocking in with a 92 per cent accuracy for his passing. The doubters sneer that too many of those passes go sideways, or behind him, and that he slows the play down.

His champions would argue that this a Belgium who need the pause and certainty of a strong anchor man. To Wilmots, “Axel makes the others play better."

If his partner in the centre of midfield is Radja Nainggolan, you notice the Roma man's pugnacity but it needs to be offset by Witsel's positional discipline; if Marouane Fellaini is with him, there is aggression, certainly, and extra height. But Witsel can match Fellaini for most things. Against Ireland, he offered a reminder that if a well-timed leap to meet a cross is required, Witsel can glide into the sorts of places Fellaini vaults into. He measured his run to meet the cross of Thomas Meunier perfectly for Belgium's second goal of the three that afternoon.

Witsel, named man of the match against the Irish, the victory that launched Belgium's championship after they had lost to Italy, had started the move that led to that goal. He had done so with a square pass, his critics might note.

Witsel has had to live with the opprobrium of some of his compatriots for a while. Partly, it's a hangover from a mistake he made when he was a 20-year-old, emerging player in his own domestic league.

He broke the leg of an opponent, Marcin Wasilewski, with a stamp to Wasilweski's ankle during a match between Witsel's Standard Liege and Anderlecht. His initial ban, later reduced, was for almost three months.

The notoriety may have taken longer to fade because Witsel's club career, has not, unlike Fellaini's or Hazard's, or most of the Belgium squad's, taken him to one of the leagues where the highs of his more mature years are watched, live or via highlights, widely in his native country. His performances each weekend for Zenit Saint Petersburg are appreciated in Russia; in Belgium he is less visible.

Yet in many ways, Witsel, 27, has been a pathfinder for his country's so-called “Golden Generation". He won his first senior cap at 19, scoring on his international debut. In the same summer, 2012, that Hazard moved from Lille to Chelsea for close to €40 million (Dh162.3m), Witsel joined Zenit for a marginally higher fee, from Benfica.

There is growing interest, including from Chelsea, in bringing his authoritative midfield play to the Premier League where so many of his gifted compatriots earn their living."

David Chait
94 Posted 02/07/2016 at 05:58:26
Robert Workman
95 Posted 02/07/2016 at 07:13:16
I was underwhelmed by his performance last night. He seemed to do no more than James McCarthy, a similar sort of player.
Maybe I am missing something, as I don't understand all the fuss about Pogba either.
William Cartwright
96 Posted 02/07/2016 at 07:32:39
People 'judging' players after a poor game or two are simply showing the same fuzzy logic of people raving after a player plays well after a couple of good games. Players are best judged by their contributions over time.

Hal Robson-Kanu, wonderful opportunity of a lifetime. Released by Reading ffs? I don't think for a minute we should rush out and offer him a contract, but if we or any other club did, then best of luck to him, he's earned it!

Alex Witsel is a quality player, so is Rom. But they need managing correctly. Gareth Bale has the potential to be a bling bling prick but he is not. Coleman has him playing for the team and his ego is no issue. That is the only real challenge for RK.

Other clubs such as Manure, especially under Mourihno I suspect have a completely different management and socio - business model. I just hope it doesn't work for them because to me it stinks.

Helen Mallon
97 Posted 02/07/2016 at 07:45:45
Peter Gorman well said he's been pretty ordinary in these euros in fact rubbish give me mata any day of the week. Oh and if we want a midfielder go get de Rossi the Italian lad now that would be marquee signing.
Brin Williams
98 Posted 02/07/2016 at 07:50:05
After his performance last night I'd rather have Wurzel Gummidge.
Andy Meighan
99 Posted 02/07/2016 at 08:08:57
30 million? No thanks. Looks like a very poor man's Fellaini to me and actually looks lazy. Wasn't interested when Wales were pouring forward and the game just passed him by, like all the others he's played in this tournament. No better than Besic, McCarthy, Barry or Cleverley and Barry aside there's 3 ordinary players.

I hope this really is rumour and nothing else because we should be going after better than him

How about that Nainggolan? Now there's a player Think he 'll be heading elsewhere though.
Jay Woods
100 Posted 02/07/2016 at 08:14:20
Shows how easily we could squander our new found wealth. Not impressed by Witsel.
Ernie Baywood
101 Posted 02/07/2016 at 08:18:28
He's a good player but we've got a few of those already. We need leaders.

At the risk of generalising, a Belgian who lets his daddy do his talking wouldn't be high up on my list.

Martin Mason
102 Posted 02/07/2016 at 09:16:48
Looks as though Stones is gone to City? Great business for Everton at £50 MM
Brent Stephens
103 Posted 02/07/2016 at 09:27:12
We haven't seen much from him in the Euros, so not sure about this one. As has been said, doesn't feel like a significant signing.
John Daley
104 Posted 02/07/2016 at 09:51:21
"....he's been pretty ordinary in these euros in fact rubbish give me mata any day of the week."

Didn't he win Man Of The Match against Ireland? How did he manage that by playing "rubbish"?

"So, who we going to give Man Of The Match award to, Mikel?"

"Tough decision, Dave. They've all played absolutely pish so I guess i'm just going to have to plump for that Witsel fella. Don't get me wrong, he's been absolute pish as well. Really, really rubbish. Probably the worst of them in fact, buuuut there was that one brief moment during the game where he put his hands together six times in quick succession and...with the rhythmic blurring of red and yellow and Foxy Brown hair....he looked the fucking spit of Jermaine Jackson giving it gormless backing claps during his brother's 'Rockin' Robin' routine: 


"Highlight of my tournament so far, Mikel. A very talented man Jermaine Jackson. Worth £30m of anyone's money all day long."

"Absolutely. At least Jermaine Jackson made an appearance at the Euro's, Dave. More than Juan Mata managed."

Paul Curwen
105 Posted 02/07/2016 at 10:08:59
Wikipedia has him as an Everton player already .....
Danny Halsall
106 Posted 02/07/2016 at 10:23:02
Just seen Witsel's dad's comments on SSN. Looks as though the favourites to land him are Napoli. His dad has been waxing lyrical about how Maradona played for them and how it would be a step up from Zenit St Petersburg.

That said he does also mention that Everton's interest is 'concrete' so it might be a goer, who knows. Exciting to be linked with names like Witsel's, Kovavic and Mata though!

Gary Carter
107 Posted 02/07/2016 at 10:24:13
I think this would be a really good signing. We currently have 3 players of his mould, arguably 2 as Barry is so immobile, Besic and McCarthy.

McCarthy is a good player, sometimes resembles a headless chicken but good, I like him.

Besic, maybe 5 good games in 2 years, constantly injured and always looks like he might get sent off, has a cult following for some reason but I think he could go.

Cleverly, not quite the same type of midfielder but similar I guess. In short, Witsel is better than all of them
Mike Allison
108 Posted 02/07/2016 at 10:32:58
Those moaning about the fee need to look around at what others are costing and what bids are being turned down this summer. The market has taken a seismic step-up this summer. £30m in 2016 isn't the same as it was in 2015.

Ross McCormack isn't available for £11.5m.

Troy Deeney will cost more than £30m.

Burnley turned down £11m for Michael Keane.

Very few clubs need to sell, and no-one, especially in England, wants to sell their best players.

This makes it even more infuriating when our own fans seem too happy to flog off our own players, as the replacements are not as cheap and available as most people seem to assume.

Mike Allison
109 Posted 02/07/2016 at 10:35:41
If Napoli sign Witsel they'll have the combination I want for us next season, as Hamsik is class as well.

To be honest, if we only added those two I'd be quite happy, as the rest of the team would improve significantly.

Sam Hoare
110 Posted 02/07/2016 at 10:39:29
Don't want that Iniesta lad either. Did nothing at the Euros. Good Lord, please let's not become the El Hadgi Diouf school of football scouting.
Damian Wilde
111 Posted 02/07/2016 at 10:58:36
He was crap last night. Is he worth this much??
Ian Cowhig
112 Posted 02/07/2016 at 11:07:48
If you made your opinion on one game of football. Both Imbrahimovic (against ROI) & Ronaldo (Iceland) would not get a look in. Difference is, we have seen and know how good they are.

I don't know enough about Witsel, because the Russian league isn't in the media a lot. But what I do know is that we are paying 6 million a year to someone who knows better than any of us. And he picked up players like Pelle, Tadic etc in his first season at Soton.

Frank Crewe
113 Posted 02/07/2016 at 11:16:03
@Damian 111

Lukaku was crap as well and we want £65 million for him. All clubs overprice their players these days. Just have to accept it and pay up.

Sam Hoare
114 Posted 02/07/2016 at 11:16:29
As for the price. It is steep but that's the world. Palace are buying James Tomkins for £15m!
Mike Allen
115 Posted 02/07/2016 at 11:20:48
£30 million for a player who is similar to what we already have is over the top, 3 players of similar standard to Witsel plus 㾶 million for a keeper will cost 𧴜million... fortune gone.

We need a game-changer – someone who can turn it around when struggling. I'm not saying Witsel is poor – he may well be a good player – but if that's the going rate for that standard, what's it going to cost for someone who IS or thinks he is a bit special?

I wouldn't mind if it takes big Ron a season to have a good look at what we already have and need before he starts spending the BIG money.

Andrew Ellams
116 Posted 02/07/2016 at 11:32:07
Martin Mason, Stones is a player that Pep Guardiola seems to think is worth £50million. How is losing a player of that quality and is still only 22 ever good business for Everton? Especially when we are now crowing about being back at the top table when the only player through the door so far is a 3rd choice keeper?
Martin Nicholls
117 Posted 02/07/2016 at 11:32:22
Sam (#110) – well said about "Spit the dog"!
Jim Potter
118 Posted 02/07/2016 at 11:41:23
If the interest in Witsel is true ....... then it's because Ron has a plan and this lad fits into that grand scheme.

Either you sit back and trust him or you don't.

Ron has done his head scratching, the light bulb is on and he is working towards what will be his team. Not your ideas, not mine, but his.

That's why he is paid six million per annum and why we're producing hot air down the ale house, scratching our bollocks and eying the totty.

We have to trust his judgement. Our opinions are .... just our opinions. Valid, worth airing - but pretty meaningless to Ron's brilliant and all conquering strategy.

Relax, put your feet up and enjoy the ride.

John Daley
119 Posted 02/07/2016 at 11:43:25
"....the El Hadgi Diouf school of football scouting"

Is that the place where potential signings are assessed using the 'Amokachi "Fuck it, let's 'ave 'im" formula'?

Rob Tedford
120 Posted 02/07/2016 at 11:45:05
He is a good player but 㿊M for a player with one year on his contract is crazy. Just cos we have money doesn't mean we should throw it away.

Kovacic for that price sounds a better deal, or Dembele off Spurs.

Martin Nicholls
121 Posted 02/07/2016 at 11:49:20
John (#119) – fair comment but Amo helped us to win our last silverware whereas "Spit the dog" brought nothing but shame on the red shite and those other unfortunates who "inherited" his dubious talents.
Nicholas Ryan
122 Posted 02/07/2016 at 11:54:34
Jim Potter 118... Exactly!

On the Wales/Belgium match, you'd pay £30 mill for 'Cruyff' Robson-Kanu and the same for 'Bertie' Vokes, but sixpence for Witsel and Lukaku.
Witsel has been talked about as a top-class player for several years now. Zenit, who've done pretty well of late, have essentially built their team around him. He'll do for me. As to the price, well, that's the way the world is these days!

Incidentally, in the endless quest for commanding, 'Leader on the pitch' no-nonsense centre-backs, surely the name Ashley Williams has to go to the top of the list.

Ian Cowhig
123 Posted 02/07/2016 at 12:04:17
£15m for Tomkins. Wonder if that means Scott Dann is moving on?
Ben Jones
124 Posted 02/07/2016 at 12:31:51
Why do we care about how much he costs? It's not our money, it's Mr Moshiri's money!

He would be very good, a midfielder who can drive the ball forward, which is what we lack massively. He would compliment McCarthy & Besic with Barry a very able deputy.

Would be a great start!

Terence Tyler
125 Posted 02/07/2016 at 13:05:52
United just bought another midfielder. Will they now sell us one of theirs? You take your pick.
Sam Hoare
126 Posted 02/07/2016 at 13:27:47
Terence. I should think Mata would certainly be off and whilst I'm a huge fan I suspect he may have suited Martinez a lot more than Koeman. He thrives in a possession based team rather than one that looks to be solid and then counter. Top player though who I'd be more than happy to have..

If some of the rumours gathering pace are true, then Witsel and Mata could be the first big players in.

Coleman Jagielka Funes Mori Baines
Witsel McCarthy/Davies
Deulofeu Barkley Mata

Wouldn't say no to that! Good mix of experience and youth with pace, guile and power present blended in.

Frank Crewe
127 Posted 02/07/2016 at 13:28:19
Apparently we are in competition with Napoli. We can offer better wages but they can offer Naples.


Know where I'd sooner be.

Tom Bowers
128 Posted 02/07/2016 at 13:39:59
Well, there will be plenty of rumours to get our appetites wet and Witsel is the latest from the rumour mongering media but treat this with the usual cynicism. Belgium had every chance early yesterday to have seen off Wales but lack of character allowed a spirited Wales to take over and some of the Belgians looked very ordinary, including Witsel.

Bringing on Fellaini was a big mistake by Wilmots and I am glad Everton moved him out. Lukaku missed a much easier header than Vokes scored on which should have seen Wales off.

Things may start to develop now that the Euros are over for Lukaku.

Mike Powell
129 Posted 02/07/2016 at 13:52:09
Looks like he is going to Napoli, according to his dad.
Ernie Baywood
130 Posted 02/07/2016 at 14:07:17
Ben #124

He may sign the cheques and put some money forward but I'd be surprised if it was his own money.

Jim Potter
131 Posted 02/07/2016 at 16:27:54
These Belgian Dads are getting on my tits.

Mirallas Senior must be next?

Saegaran Kana
132 Posted 02/07/2016 at 16:32:14
Fellaini is better than this chap..don't waste the 30m
Ray Roche
133 Posted 02/07/2016 at 16:35:59
Well, the Schneiderlin and Sneijder signings rumour didn't last long, did it? You don't think it was a "journalist", and I use the term in it's loosest possible form, making it up do you?
Paul Kossoff
135 Posted 02/07/2016 at 16:59:11
Sam 126,

Coleman, Jagielka, Funes Mori, Baines; Barry/Gibson, McCarthy/Davies;
Deulofeu, Barkley;
Kone, Lennon/McGeady...

I wouldnt be surprised at our starting eleven come August, and if I'm right, God help us. With Kenwright and his cronies and loan deals still here, nothing will change.

Mike Mulhall
136 Posted 02/07/2016 at 17:04:21
Some people are laughable.

We are used to over the hill players or good players but not quite good enough and the moment we are linked with big money moves people still whinge and moan about waste of money, not good enough and so on.

Fact is this club needs statements in the transfer markets, you're vision of the dream signing isn't obtainable because our club needs to do a hell of a lot of work to rebuild its reputation, it's pride and it competitive reputation. It also needs to encourage the fans to buy back into the club in a way that we know we can compete again. These types of signings are needed and for me hugely encouraging.

So, just like Man City and Chelsea did, we are going to pay big wages and fees that make your eyes water on what I would say are B+ players who will improve our competitive edge before the A-grade players would even consider us.

Amit Vithlani
138 Posted 02/07/2016 at 18:26:06
If this tattle is true, he is an upgrade on what we have, surely?

I don't think he was to blame for the poor showing v Wales. He was outnumbered, had to protect an awful back four, and came up against oppo who were really at it on the night.

Jackie Barry
139 Posted 02/07/2016 at 18:49:07
Definite big upgrade on what we have. I will base my opinion on his club performances where he has been excellent, so yes please!
John Crawley
140 Posted 02/07/2016 at 22:57:25
Nearly 28 never played in a top European league, swerve.
Gordon Crawford
141 Posted 02/07/2016 at 23:01:24
That other shower are now supposedly in for him.
Gavin Johnson
142 Posted 02/07/2016 at 23:02:14
Don't worry John. He'll be swerving us for the RS if the reports are to be believed.
Brent Stephens
143 Posted 02/07/2016 at 23:04:13
Gordon, Gavin, which reports? where's this now coming from?
Tony Dove
144 Posted 02/07/2016 at 23:12:15
I really hope this rumour is false. Witzel is one of the main reasons why Belgium have under performed. No thank you at any price.
Oliver Molloy
145 Posted 02/07/2016 at 23:15:03
Is he worth 30 million pounds and the reported 100 grand a week- if we buy him Koeman obviously thinks so.

We have got to trust the manager will get the right players that will make us a aide to reckoned with.

On another subject the director of football search has gone fairly quiet since Koeman arrived for whatever reason.

Gavin Johnson
146 Posted 02/07/2016 at 23:20:33
It's on Newsnow, Brent. The stories are saying they'll go head to head with us. If it's true, lets be honest, he wont be signing for us.
Brent Stephens
147 Posted 02/07/2016 at 23:25:04
Ta, Gavin. Interesting.
Tony Hill
148 Posted 02/07/2016 at 23:56:36
Gavin, why not? I'm not greatly troubled about Witsel but the RS have nothing on us now, certainly not financial muscle. One would hope that people will not be swayed by the events of receding history and will look at the overall prospects. Klopp v Koeman; again, why should we come second? I'm backing our people against theirs.

If they get him, then so be it. We'll go for someone else of high quality, because now we can.

Dan Davies
149 Posted 02/07/2016 at 00:03:39
Mid table, non European football Liverpool, never won the Premier League. Makes sense that don't it. Their getting worried glancing over at Goodison.

Could it be that the rs have to prove themselves still a big team by associating themselves with our targets and trying to keep us in our place?

I'm loving this. I'd love us to blow them out the water in the transfer market just to see the reaction! Ha ha!

Tony Hill
150 Posted 03/07/2016 at 00:17:34
What's interesting me is whether we'll spend really big money on someone. We have the resources if we sell Stones/Lukaku, would it be a good idea to put down, say, £60-£70m for someone and who could that be ? Or are we better getting a team built by purchasing a number of players at lower sums? I think we're going for the latter and that's fine by me.

Bob Parrington
151 Posted 03/07/2016 at 06:50:18
JOHN DALEY, #93, #104 AND #19 - Great stuff. I'm with you on this.
The main problem for me is that I don't think any player is worth Pds30million no matter how many gold sparklers they have up their Arse.
But, many folks are missing the true strength of Witsel's performances. Belgium was forced to play crap by Wales. Witsel was not at his best but was probably better than most of the rest of his team. Otherwise he's impressed with his performances throughout.
Peter Gorman
152 Posted 03/07/2016 at 09:41:47
Have many of you suffered some kind of mass amnesia?

Substitute the words Niasse/Martinez for Witsel/Koeman and comments such as "who cares how much we pay, it ain't my money / we rich anyway" and "he is paid the big bucks, played for better teams than we did so I will trust his opinion absolutely and there is no point debating it" just seem rather silly.

Despite everything I post ever, I am a bit optimistic about the season to come. But I've also supported Everton through some god awful years and this has bred just a touch of healthy cynicism.

The manager is not infallible and the money-pit is not bottomless. It is perfectly rational to pose the question is Witsel the best us of 30 million quid when even his fans think he is a McCarthy v2.0.

Steavey Buckley
153 Posted 03/07/2016 at 10:57:55
A lot of money for a player who is playing in a debatable league in Russia where Niasse was player of the season. Witsel did not cover himself in glory with the Belgium team that was dumped out of the Euros by Wales.
Denis Richardson
154 Posted 03/07/2016 at 11:11:26
Tony 150 / you being serious?

I cannot imagine anytime it would be worth paying 60-70m for one single player. Just imagine spending that and the guy suffers a bad injury! The likes of Barca, Madrid and Manu may do that but I hope we're never that foolish.

I'd much rather we signed a few Mahrez's, Payets and Wijnaldems than spunk all our cash on one player. Also Leicester and Wales show the all time footy law - it's the team that matters.

Footballs already crazy enough.

Frank Crewe
155 Posted 03/07/2016 at 11:40:29
@Steavey 153. What player has covered themselves in glory at the Euro's? By your measure we should turn our noses up at Pogba, Lewandowski, Kane, etc etc. Just about every top player in Europe isn't good enough.

We are only impressed with Mahrez, Payet etc because they had good seasons with their clubs. Before that they were unknown quantities and could just as easily turned out to be duds. If Niasse had turned out to be the next Payet RM would still be managing Everton.

It amazes me that now that we have finally got money to spend there is resistance to spending it on quality players. Not every player is going to be a bargain price unknown gem just waiting to be discovered. If we want to compete at the top then that means going after the same players that the "rich" clubs chase.

Steven Barnes
156 Posted 03/07/2016 at 12:44:09
£25 million is too much money for any 28-year-old in my opinion.

£100 million, if that is how much we have to spend on players, won't last forever, certain teams have been spending close to this amount every season nearly but don't do much better for it.

If we had £100 million every season then Mata for £25 million maybe. But only because we can't attract younger high-quality players yet.

I think it's always better to have resale value in case things don't work out. We have a one-off £100 million to spend not endless pots. Let's not hang around but still let's be careful.

Frank Crewe
157 Posted 03/07/2016 at 18:48:25
If Witsel was 4 years younger he would cost twice as much. Why do you think we want £50 million for Stones or £65 Million for Lukaku?

I see no point in buying players at all if all you can think about is how much you can sell them for a couple of years later later. Koeman is trying to build a side here not just provide a stop over for players on their way to a richer club. I would also point out that should some overpriced youngster turn out to be a flop you won't get the money you paid for him anyway.

Lee Hayes
158 Posted 04/07/2016 at 05:38:21
I can't see it happening this quick. Yeh, we have cash now and a good manager... but it takes a while for players to recognise that we mean business. Plus the RedShite are sniffing around him too...
Phil Walling
160 Posted 05/07/2016 at 09:06:17
After Bily, McGeady and Niasse, I'm a bit suspicious of signings from the Russian league which observers rate as Championship level at best.

I know the wheels of the transfer merry-go-round have to be 'oiled' occasionally but Everton seems particularly attracted to these machinations !

John Hammond
161 Posted 05/07/2016 at 10:29:48
How about Sissoko from Newcastle as an alternative?

Not sure I'd want to be paying that much for Witsel. Anyone know why he only spent one season at Benfica?

Bill Belekas
162 Posted 05/07/2016 at 13:28:53
Sam Cox of Football Fancast.com, if your reading this, then go and do one...
Sam Hoare
163 Posted 05/07/2016 at 13:52:55
More rumours this is getting close. 𧴵k pw and 㿊m. A lot of money but quality costs and I'm pretty certain this guy will improve us and be a fixture in CM for the next 5 years or until someone pays us our 㿊m back or more.

Alan Bodell
164 Posted 05/07/2016 at 14:10:27
Jim Potter (#118), I'm with you on that, mate.
Eugene Ruane
165 Posted 05/07/2016 at 14:17:20
Never understand supporters worrying about a dead rich feller's money.

'He's not worth blah' etc.

Who gives a shit – if Koeman wants a player and Moshiri says he'll pay the price, deal done.

I couldn't give a shite what players cost, not going to cost me a carrot.

'I'm not sure I'd want to pay that much' – PFFT!! That kind of thinking is a bit of a mingebag giveaway if you ask me (a guide to TWers who'd need a firm nudge in the ribs to get the ale in).

Ray Said
166 Posted 05/07/2016 at 14:21:01
The text below is taken from Football Italia website – looks like Napoli are out of the race. Not keen on the 'intermediary' comments about the blues though!

'An intermediary reveals Axel Witsel is “further away” from Napoli, and is in talks with Everton.

The Zenit St Petersburg midfielder had been in talks with both clubs, but it appears the lure of Premier League money may be crucial in his decision.

“Axel is currently further away from Napoli” an intermediary for the deal, Francesco Marseglia, said on Radio Crc.

“The offer wasn't really given a lot of consideration. Everton might even go above €4m net in salary.

“If you look at the financial aspect, that's the right move, but in terms of career I'd choose Napoli every time, even putting the Champions League to one side.

“Napoli are an ambitious club, they're growing every year, always taking more important players. Everton don't seem like a great team.

“I don't know exactly what the situation is, in my opinion he wants to take his time because he's not yet convinced about what to do.

“He can either accept the English club or wait for an even bigger club."

John Daley
167 Posted 05/07/2016 at 14:29:29
"Anyone know why he only spent one season at Benfica?"

€40m buy out clause. €40m bid from Zenit.


Steavey Buckley
168 Posted 05/07/2016 at 14:33:15
When Koeman first took over, Southampton was under less pressure to succeed, so took a punt on players to see if they could succeed. Now at Everton, where there is now pressure to succeed, Koeman is playing it more safe in the transfer market, by buying over-priced players that do have a track record.
John Daley
169 Posted 05/07/2016 at 14:35:05
"If you look at the financial aspect, that's the right move, but in terms of career I'd choose Napoli every time, even putting the Champions League to one side.

“Napoli are an ambitious club, they're growing every year, always taking more important players. Everton don't seem like a great team.

“I don't know exactly what the situation is, in my opinion he wants to take his time because he's not yet convinced about what to do.

“He can either accept the English club or wait for an even bigger club."

He's a cheeky twat that Lukaku.

Scott Hamilton
170 Posted 05/07/2016 at 14:43:34
Eugene - Completely agree. If Koeman wants them and Moshiri is prepared to pay it then that's enough for me.

This "£100m transfer kitty" may even be a smokescreen. Maybe our pockets are deeper still. Either way, I'll leave it to the experts.

Mike Allison
171 Posted 05/07/2016 at 14:53:42
Scott and Eugene, I'm not sure if you're being a bit disingenuous but the idea is surely obvious. Working on the assumption that we have a limited amount of money, then spending 'too much' on one player makes us less likely to be able to sign other players.

Maybe we're now so rich that we don't have to worry about that, but I think FFP and wage budgets still keep us at least slightly limited.

If you don't rate a player particularly highly and want Everton to spend the money elsewhere, then of course it's legitimate to worry that we are wasting our limited resources on something that won't benefit us in proportion to what it costs us.

Paul Tran
172 Posted 05/07/2016 at 15:15:01

Bily, McGeady and Niasse weren't/aren't crap players because they're from the Russian league, they're just not good enough.

Witsel has had a pretty good career and ended up in Russia because Zenit matched the mad fee.

To be honest, I'd be happy with a good, solid keeper, centre-mid and striker to give the team some spine, before we start looking at 'marquee' players, whatever that means.

Patrick Murphy
173 Posted 05/07/2016 at 15:18:03
John (169) Did Rom honestly say that? If he did, ship him out as soon as we've purchased another forward - I had reconciled myself to seeing the Belgian forward in a Blue shirt for the whole of next season, but those words show no respect to his current employers and he and Witsel and any other Belgian footballer can all join Napoli if they so wish, no great loss, well not in the long-term anyway.
Rob Young
174 Posted 05/07/2016 at 15:30:15
Patrick (#173) – he didn't say that.
Jay Harris
175 Posted 05/07/2016 at 15:35:20
Patrick, I think John is using a bit of wit.

It was actually said by Francesco Marseglia on Radio Crc.

Eugene Ruane
176 Posted 05/07/2016 at 15:46:51
Mike (17) - 'Scott and Eugene, I'm not sure if you're being a bit disingenuous but the idea is surely obvious. Working on the assumption that we have a limited amount of money, then spending 'too much' on one player makes us less likely to be able to sign other players'

Nonsense, makes no sense to make an assumption then worry on the strength of it.

Plus who are you to say for sure what 'too much' is?

And if there is a limit but you don't know what it is...etc.

'Maybe we're now so rich that we don't have to worry about that, but I think FFP and wage budgets still keep us at least slightly limited.'

Yeah maybe we are, plus everyone in the PL is 'slightly limited'.

'If you don't rate a player particularly highly and want Everton to spend the money elsewhere, then of course it's legitimate to worry that we are wasting our limited resources on something that won't benefit us in proportion to what it costs us.'

'Legitimate to worry' about stuff you're guessing - really?

And even if you did know, tell me what your worrying would change/achieve.

(clue: fuck-all)

By your own admission ('Maybe we're now so rich', 'working on the assumption that we have a limited amount of money..') you don't know what's going on, yet say it's legitimate to worry about it.

Disagree and I'm not going to risk irritable bowel-syndrome, headaches or anxiety because a feller with over a billion nicker might be overcharged a few bob for a player.

Your round!

John Daley
177 Posted 05/07/2016 at 16:14:00
Apologies Patrick! I cribbed the qoute from post #166 by Ray Said in which the words were attributed to 'an intermediary'.
Mike Allison
180 Posted 05/07/2016 at 17:00:31
I enjoy your posts Eugene, and I'm sure I'd enjoy getting a round in with you, but there's quite a lot to disagree with in what you've just said to me.

First of all, the only thing I'm saying is that a fan is allowed to believe that a transfer costs too much money. I'm not trying to define how much is too much, I'm not trying to do much actually, but you and Scott both claimed that fans shouldn't worry about it, whereas I think I've pointed out why it might be reasonable. If we spend £30m on Witsel, or £16m on Pelle, then that's £30m, or £16m we no longer have to spend on whosoever that fan thinks we should've bought. If our money is genuinely unlimited, then sure, it doesn't matter, but our money isn't unlimited. That's almost definitely true. I'd have to fully understand FFP rules and their legality to be 100%. Just because I can't be 100% certain doesn't rule out its validity. It's very different to a 'guess'.

Also, it definitely is worth making an assumption then worrying about it if it's a strong assumption. If I'm on the edge of a cliff, I'll assume that gravity will continue to work if I jump off, and will worry about that happening. That'll make me not jump off. You seem to be advocating jumping, because you can't assume gravity will work, or those rocks down there really are sharp and hard.

Otherwise your post seems to just be telling us that the thought, time and energy we're all putting in thinking about Everton-related issues and chatting about them on ToffeeWeb is pointless, and I think we all know that deep down anyway. It doesn't really work as a debating point.

To use your analogy, it's that those fans are worried Farhad is getting his round in, but he's buying shandy made with Skol and paying London craft-ale-with-stupid-trendy-name prices for it, when he could be getting a round of something really nice and paying a reasonable price. If you're in his round, you want the nice drink, not the overpriced Skol shandy, and you might feel justified in saying so as he heads off to the bar.

Eugene Ruane
181 Posted 05/07/2016 at 17:09:36
'Also, it definitely is worth making an assumption then worrying about it if it's a strong assumption. If I'm on the edge of a cliff, I'll assume that gravity will continue to work if I jump off, and will worry about that happening. That'll make me not jump off. You seem to be advocating jumping, because you can't assume gravity will work, or those rocks down there really are sharp and hard.'

Possibly the greatest 'I'm not throwing the towel in' paragraph I've ever read on TW.

I'm serious - superb! (you deffo win this one)

Mike if you want to worry the noggin right off your shoulders, by all means, fill you boots.

Up the Toffees!

Mike Allison
182 Posted 05/07/2016 at 17:15:15
Cheers. I'm not even worried, I'm just defending the right of others to be worried.
John Daley
183 Posted 05/07/2016 at 18:08:04
Latest casting news for the Lethal Weapon remake:

Everton Football Club as 'Bloke Undecided About JumpIng Off A Building''

Mike Allison as 'Roger Murtaugh'

Farhad Moshiri as 'Martin Riggs'

Eugene Ruane
184 Posted 05/07/2016 at 19:00:28
Mike: (182) - "Cheers. I'm not even worried, I'm just defending the right of others to be worried."

Jim Dale (in a doctors coat): "Oh quite..but when you're not worried, does that..worry you? I mean not being worried. What I mean is if others aren't worrying, does it worry you that they're not worried because you think they should..worry?"

Just then, Barbara '5 abortions' Windsor passes wearing a short skirt and exposing a lot of her incredibly overrated, actually small, Spaniel's ears-type tits.


Mike (loosening his tie) "Now that I could go for!"

Jim: "You reckon?"

Mike: "No worries!"

(Carry On TW by Talbot Rothwell)

Rob Hooton
185 Posted 05/07/2016 at 22:35:18
Bloody hilarious, would love to have a few pints of Skol with you guys and then worry about pissing myself.

Up the Blues!

Oliver Molloy
186 Posted 05/07/2016 at 22:39:23
Witzel will now be moving to Chelsea now according to various papers.!
Mike Allison
187 Posted 06/07/2016 at 00:22:56
That's worrying.
Tony Abrahams
188 Posted 13/07/2016 at 22:16:01
Looks like he's going to Everton now.
Brent Stephens
189 Posted 13/07/2016 at 22:20:26
Oddschecker only has Sky as offering odds. Were others offering and now withdrawn? Or haven't been offering?

Tony, where did you get that from?

Tony Abrahams
190 Posted 13/07/2016 at 22:24:59
Just read something on NewsNow, Brent. It's like a Carry On film though, so I wouldn't get my hopes up/down too much just yet!
Brent Stephens
191 Posted 13/07/2016 at 22:26:40
Ooh, you are awful, Tony!
Tony Abrahams
192 Posted 13/07/2016 at 22:32:46
Made up to see that Gideon Osbourne has been fucked off though. Let's hope his sacking is the final cut!
Brent Stephens
193 Posted 13/07/2016 at 22:39:47
After the hubris comes the nemesis and the catharsis, Tony.
Tony Abrahams
194 Posted 15/07/2016 at 10:20:37
It's Inter Milan today, Brent!
Steve Brown
195 Posted 15/07/2016 at 10:33:29
Am I the only one who doesn't care if he goes somewhere else? Thought he was very average at the Euros.

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