Good Morning Fear The Wall
A lot was made of Newcastle’s vast new wealth, and we’re now starting to see them flex some of that financial muscle by bringing in Eddie Howe to replace Steve Bruce as manager, and according to Liam Kennedy of Newcastle World, seeking the services of 32-year old, seemingly over-the-hill Axel Witsel. Clearly it’ll take them a moment before they’re competing with Man City and PSG!
Juventus are thought to be leading the chasing pack for Witsel, but Newcastle’s interest presents an interesting conundrum for the Belgian midfielder. Juventus are one of the biggest teams in world football, with a wealth of pedigree, and the opportunity to play in the Champions League and compete for the Italian league title. Newcastle, on the other hand, are newly rich and very ambitious, but they’re also currently sitting 19th in the Premier League table. He would get to play in the biggest league in football, but there’s a genuine risk of Newcastle getting relegated too. For the Newcastle move to be more appealing, you’d have to think that they are going to offer an astronomical wage to Witsel, which they certainly have the funds to do.
Perhaps Witsel is looking for one last gigantic paycheck, and in that case Newcastle might make more sense, but he spent a good few years cashing in in Russia and China, so he may not need to chase the bag one last time.
The other consideration might be the difference in playing styles in the two leagues. Witsel seems to be struggling with the pace of the Bundesliga, following his Achilles injury, so a stint in the Premier League seems a little unwise if he wants to be able to perform to the best of his abilities. Meanwhile, Serie A tends to be a slightly slower paced game than either the Bundesliga or Premier League, so you have to wonder if that would be more appealing to those old legs of his. It would also be a little easier playing for Juventus, who should expect to control most league games, versus Newcastle, who are being run ragged most weekends.
I really have no idea where Witsel will go, but I think it all comes down to his priorities at this point in his career. Wherever he ends up, I really hope it works out for him. He has been a really good player for Borussia Dortmund, and he seems like a likeable guy too.
The Daily Buzz
Where do you think Axel Witsel will be plying his trade come January?