Posted on Monday, 30th May 2011 by Iain Culverhouse
Transfer rumours are coming thick and fast at Arsenal already, the latest one being Standard Liege youngster Axel Witsel.
Witsel, who is rated as one of the best young midfielders in Europe, managed to net 10 goals in 34 starts this season for Standard Liege – who lifted the Belgian Cup this year.
Witsel would probably make a good addition to the Arsenal squad, as there is no doubt that the Belgian starlet boasts talent. However, he is yet another youngster that we are looking at, rather than a more recognised and experienced midfielder.
Axel Witsel has spent his entire career at Standard Liege so far. He has netted 41 goals in 179 appearances in total for the club, which is not bad for a 22-year-old midfielder.
I am struggling to answer the question at hand though – should Arsenal look to sign him this summer? This is unfortunately due to one incident that hangs over Witsel’s head. One incident that really makes me question if he is going to be mentally strong enough to cope in the Premier League.
The incident in question happened during a match between Anderlecht and Standard on 30th August 2009. Witsel was sent off for a horrific tackle on Marcin Wasilewski, which ruled the Pole out for 9 months. My major concern is that the Premier League is far more intense and faster than the Belgian Pro League, and if I was Arsene Wenger, I would look very carefully at this player before making a move for him.
Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and both Milan giants are also said to be interested in the young starlet. However, his father, Thierry Witsel, confirmed recently that a move to Arsenal remains his ‘dream’ move. Witsel’s father told Italian publication, Corriere dello Sport:
‘Axel has no pretensions. But his dream has always been (to play in) Arsenal. He just wants a club that is ready to believe in him.’
In all honesty, although the player looks a great prospect and would probably be a good signing for any club, I don’t think he is mentally ready for the Premier Leagues competitiveness. However, Witsel is thought to be available at around £9 million this summer, which will no doubt please frugal Wenger.
Despite Arsenal being his ‘dream’ move, and being a highly rated youngster, in my view, and I know it will probably be an unpopular one amongst many Arsenal fans, I believe Arsene Wenger should look elsewhere this summer.
Here is a video of the Belgian starlet in action:
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