This is despite the player setting his sights on a move to AC Milan
Zenit midfielder Axel Witsel has verbally agreed to join AC Milan, although a transfer fee is yet to be agreed between the two clubs.
Milan are seemingly not willing to pay the Belgium international’s £21.5 million asking price, which could see Chelsea nip in and agree a deal with Zenit.
Witsel’s agent Riccardo Napolitano revealed that the San Siro club are only prepared to pay £14.4m for the midfielder, two thirds of the fee that the Russian club demand.
“At the start Axel was not convinced by Milan’s proposal, because he was looking for a club that played in the Champions League,” Riccardo Napolitano told Antenna 3.
“However, the Rossoneri were very insistent and at the end the player said yes to their offer. The first hurdle has therefore been overcome.
“Now they need to satisfy Zenit’s demands. Milan are prepared to spend £14.4m, but the Russians are asking for £21.6m to £25m.”
Witsel is eager to join one of Europe‘s elite clubs
Milan negotiators are set to meet with Zenit representatives in the coming days, to come to an agreement over the deal.
Despite Witsel’s desire to move to Italy, Premier League champions Chelsea will remain confident of snatching the player from under Milan’s noses.
The Blues‘ scouting team have been tracking the 26 year old’s progress for over a year, as Jose Mourinho looks for more strength in depth in his squad.