Jose Mourinho target explains £18m summer transfer to Dortmund

Date published: Thursday 6th December 2018 11:32

Borussia Dortmund midfield Axel Witsel has explained why he moved to the Bundesliga in the summer.

The Belgium enforcer, who has recently been linked with Manchester United, was understood to be on the radar of Jose Mourinho in the summer, while PSG were also said to be interested in him.

Witsel, 29, though, who arrived in the summer for around £18million after an 18-month exile in China, only had eyes for Dortmund, despite talk of interest from German giants Bayern Munich.

Asked why decided to move to Dortmund, he told Bild: “Because I felt that Dortmund is the right choice. I knew from the beginning that I have the quality to assert myself here and to help.

“Nevertheless, the BVB was a challenge for me, which I absolutely wanted to accept.”

Mourinho recently scouted Witsel, who is under contract until 2022, according to a report in Belgium.

Mourinho was seen taking in Belgium’s 2-0 win over Iceland 2-0 in the UEFA Nations League in Brussels last month.

Neither Marouane Fellaini nor Romelu Lukaku were fit to feature for Roberto Martinez’s side, leading to speculation as to why Mourinho was there.

Rather inevitably, it was suggested that the United manager was in attendance on some sort of scouting mission, and while it was widely reported that Toby Alderweireld was the man he was watching, he was apparently also scouting a midfielder.

Belgium source HLN claimed that Mourinho was also running the rule over Witsel.

ESPN also last month claimed Mourinho remained keen on a move for Witsel after Ed Woodward blocked the Portuguese coach’s move for him in the summer, in favour of Fred.

The thought process behind Woodward’s decision to sanction a deal for Fred ahead of Witsel was based purely on the ages of the two stars, with 25-year-old Fred preferred to Witsel.

But given the Brazilian’s struggles to make an impact at Old Trafford since a £52.5million switch from Shakhtar Donetsk, Mourinho is now trying to resurrect a deal to bring him to Old Trafford.

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