There’s just under a month until the transfer window closes in Germany, but Borussia Dortmund have already been quite active. Today they dipped into the market for a seventh time as they added another player to their new look midfield.
The club announced that Axel Witsel has signed for BVB. He joins from Tianjin Quanjian for a fee that is reported to be around €20 million.
✌️ @axelwitsel28 pic.twitter.com/KVbEGFRfFx— Borussia Dortmund (@BVB) August 6, 2018
The move took longer than expected to complete, but now Witsel has joined and will have a decent amount of time to gel with the squad in preseason once FIFA give the full approval for his transfer.
You may have recently watched Witsel as a part of the Belgian team that made a run to the semifinals at World Cup. The Liège native played every minute of 6 of the Red Devils’ 7 games in Russia. He struggled in their defeat to France, but otherwise had an impressive tournament.
Witsel is 29-years-old, and his career has followed an odd path up to this point. He came up through the youth ranks at Standard Liège before signing for Benfica at 19. He was in Portugal for one season before he made a big money move to Zenit Saint Petersburg. In four years he won the Russian league title once, and then last year he cashed in by moving to China.
It seems the World Cup has re-awakened his desire to play in Europe. Still, the Bundesliga is a significant step up from the Portuguese League, which to this point is the strongest league he has played in.
Witsel should slot into midfield alongside Thomas Delaney, who also joined this summer. The future of Julian Weigl is cast further into doubt by this signing, but Dortmund also have Mo Dahoud, Nuri Sahin, and Sebastian Rode available to play in central midfield.
€20 million is a paltry fee in these times, especially for a player who has just played really well at a World Cup. Witsel is older than a typical BVB signing usually is, but he seems like a solid short-term solution at his position.
He will be the third Belgian player to ever play for Dortmund. Adnan Januzaj was the first, and Michy Batshuayi was the second. Let’s hope his time at BVB isn’t as short as Batshuayi’s was, and isn’t as terrible as Januzaj’s was.