Axel Witsel set to swap Russia for China in mega-money move

The Belgian midfielder had been linked with Juventus, Chelsea and Everton

BY Adrian Collins 11:00 Monday 2 January 2017, 11:00 2 Jan 2017

Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Belgian midfielder Axel Witsel looks set to become the latest star to head to China, to join Tianjin Quanjian.

The player had been linked with moves to Chelsea, Juventus and Everton, but has decided that the deal on the table from the Chinese Super League side was too good to turn down. 

His yearly salary is believed to be €18,000,000 (around €345,000 a week), while Tianjin Quanjian will pay Zenit a fee of €20 million to bring the player to China, well beyond the €6 million that had been mentioned in the rumoured Juventus transfer.

According to Belgian outlet RTBF, the four-year deal is complete, and Witsel will join up with the club with immediate effect. Fabio Cannavaro, the former Italian international and World Cup winner, is currently the manager of the Super League side. 

Witsel, who turns 28 in just over a week's time, was also being pursued by Shangai SIPG, who recently signed Oscar to their books in a huge deal with Chelsea. However, he looks to have chosen the opportunity to learn under Cannavaro rather than joining André Villas-Boas' side.

The move will place Witsel inside the top 10 of the best paid players in the world, just ahead of Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic. 

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