Belgian midfielder nearly joined Man Utd before Dortmund move

Date published: Thursday 22nd August 2019 9:42

Alex Witsel has revealed how he nearly joined Manchester United before opting for Borussia Dortmund.

Witsel started his career at Standard Liege, before moving on to Benfica, Zenit and then Chinese side Tianjin Quanjian.

The 30-year-old joined Dortmund last summer, but nearly moved to some of Europe’s biggest clubs including Real Madrid, Juventus and United, reports Goal.

“I could have joined Real Madrid when Jose Mourinho was there,” Witsel said. “But then Real signed Luka Modric, so a transfer to Madrid made no sense to me.

“Shortly before the end of the transfer period Zenit called. I had good discussions with the people responsible and finally agreed. I am an open person and was not afraid of Russia.”

Witsel nearly joined Juventus on a free transfer before signing a new contract with Zenit.

“My contract with Zenit expired and I wanted to move to Turin to Juventus,” Witsel said.

“I had already passed the medical check and actually only had to sign the contract.

“I waited all day in the office and Zenit told me to come back. In retrospect, that was perhaps a twist of fate. Maybe it was just not the right time.”

Witsel joined Borussia Dortmund last summer, but he says there were offers from Man Utd or Paris Saint-Germain when he left China.

“First (Dortmund sporting director) Michael Zorc approached me, then (manager) Lucien Favre called me,” Witsel explained.

“I also had other offers, maybe I could have gone to Paris or Manchester, but I did not want to wait. And I had the feeling that I was the first choice for Dortmund. It is important to feel good when you go to a new club.

“So after the talks with Zorc, Favre and (CEO) Hans-Joachim Watzke, I decided to join BVB. Dortmund is a top club – and I really wanted to join a top European club.

“Maybe it was my last chance at 29 years old. It was the right decision.”


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