Jose Mourinho was spotted at Belgium’s international friendly against Iceland last Thursday and it was suggested by Goal and other respected media outlets that the Manchester United manager was there to keep a close eye on Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld.
However, according to Belgian outlet HLN, as cited on TEAMtalk, Mourinho was watching Borussia Dortmund midfielder Axel Witsel.
The midfielder only returned to Europe over the summer after a stint in the Chinese Super League and has been a revelation under Lucien Favre. And with Bayern Munich struggling of late, he has played a key part in BVB’s attempts to mount of title challenge in the Bundesliga this season.
Dortmund haven’t won the league since 2012 – when Jurgen Klopp was in charge – so their faithful are enjoying football under Favre. They are currently leading the Bundesliga standings with Borussia Monchengladbach sat in second, four points off the pace, while Bayern are seven points behind in fifth place.
Witsel would be an interesting buy for United should Mourinho’s alleged interest ever materialise. At Benfica, where he joined from Standard Liège in 2011, he was remoulded from being a winger into the industrious central midfielder he is today.
He excelled as a No.6 in Portugal but left after one season.
Since then, Witsel spent four years at Zenit Saint Petersburg and a season with Tianjin Quanjian. The current chapter is an intriguing one in Germany, but the Belgium international has proven in the past that he’s happy to jump ship once the right move becomes available.
United could definitely do with signing a new midfielder as long as he adds more mobility than the ever trusted Nemanja Matic. According to The Times, some members of the dressing room feel the Serb is untouchable despite his dip in form this season, which came to the fore during the derby defeat prior to the international break.
A lot has been made of United’s defensive struggles this season which cannot go ignored, but it hasn’t helped our case with Matic playing in front of the back four. He looks slow, turgid and past it. A different player to the one we signed over a year ago.
Perhaps Marouane Fellaini got rid of the afro to make it less complicated for commentators working on games that could see him partnered by Witsel in midfield…