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Transfer Season: Axel Witsel – Possible replacement for Scholes?

Axel Witsel during a Euro 2012 qualifying match for Belgium against Azerbaijan. Photo: Getty Images

A natural midfielder that scores a range of goals from outside the box, from volleys and even the occasional header? Sound like someone we all know and love? After finding out that Axel Witsel is eyeing a move to a big club this summer, I came to realise that he would be a fantastic replacement for the soon to retire Paul Scholes. Scholes has this morning announced that he has officially retired from football with immediate effect and a guarantee is that we need to strengthen up the midfield this season in the transfer window. With Hargreaves already being told that we can now longer continue to support him, Scholes retiring and Giggs coming to the twilights of his careerand a midfield that has been found lacking this season after Fletcher and Anderson were both out for extended periods of time, an injection of youth may well revitalise the weakness of our team. This is where a glittering youngster from Belgium could come in.

At only 22, Axel Witsel is going to be coming into his footballing prime over the next few years and United could pick up a bargain by signing him from Standard Liege this summer. Naturally a defensive midfielder, he has been playing on the right-wing for Liege this season and has bagged himself 10 goals in 34 appearances this season. Take a look below to see what Witsel is capable of.

From collected penalties to sizzling volleys, Witsel seems to have quite an arsenal at his disposal. A naturally defensive midfielder with the capability of pushing up and scoring goals? I couldn’t think of a more perfectly suited player for United’s needs this Summer. In 2008, Carrick and Fletcher had 8 goals between them but only 3 this term, all coming from Darren. To bring in some youth into what is quite an old midfield may well be the key that brings the midfield tighter to the attack and moulds the gaps that seemed so apparent against Barcelona. After winning the Belgian Cup with Standard Liege this season and emerging onto the international scene in a young Belgium team that boasts talent like Hazard, Lukaku and Vermaelen, he is set to be a star in a major European league.

A bid of £10 million should be enough and with the market inflation seen in modern football, it could well become a great deal much like Hernandez became this season after costing just £7 million. The season of rumours and speculation will now be underway for some time and the ‘silly season’ will again see some substantial sums of money being thrown around. With City qualifying for the Champions League next year, Arsenal realising that stubbornness is not the final solution, Chelsea falling at their own feet and United needing to strengthen a midfield that looked out of sorts in comparison to the quality of the defence and strikeforce, the Premier League is set for a rollercoaster transfer window. I just hope that SAF makes some magical purchases like he has done many times in the past as he sets out on his challenge of unravelling the dominance of Barcelona.

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