Man United & Chelsea in running for £28.8m midfield star

Premier League rivals Manchester United and Chelsea are keeping a close eye on Belgium international Axel Witsel, according to reports from The Mirror.

The Zenit St Petersburg ace has been in Russia since the summer of 2012, when he joined the club from Benfica in a deal worth €40m (£28.8m).

He has since shone for the Gazprom-backed outfit, helping them to lift the league title last season under the guidance of former Spurs chief Andre Villas-Boas.

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And now reports claim that interest in his signature is gathering, with Chelsea and United both thought to be keen.

The powerful midfielder is now 26, and has confessed that a new challenge is tempting for him.

The duo may face competition from Champions League runners-up Juventus, who are reportedly looking at him amid fears about the futures of Arturo Vidal, Paul Pogba and Andrea Pirlo.

United, however, may hold the upper hand, with the player having revealed his love for the Old Trafford club in the past and desire to play in England:

“I have always liked Manchester United from when I was young,” he said.

“I want to play in one of the top clubs in Europe one day. It’s true that I like the Premier League, because it is one of the best league’s in the world, for me, together with Germany and Spain.”