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Let's not get too excited about the Axel Witsel quotes

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Dean Mouhtaropoulos

You may have seen a few Axel Witsel quotes floating about over the last 24 hours, about how one of the midfield stars of Belgium and his excellent afro want out of Zenit and are hoping that either Manchester United or Chelsea will pluck them out the Russian wastelands and whisk them away to bathe in the myrrh and saffron of the Premier League.

Upon hearing of these quotes, your heart may just have gone a bit aflutter with the prospect of actual midfield reinforcements (and I don't mean attacking midfield) coming in at Chelsea. And who could blame you? Shoring up the most glaring weakness in the squad should give you all the good feels.

Alas, it's not all as it seems and there's really not much to get all that excited about. Following the trail back to the original source of the quotes, it turns out that the sensationalist headlines at ESPN or the Daily Star aren't actually backed up by any of Witsel's words. All he's saying is that despite doing well in Russia, he still hopes that one day he'll get to move to the most watched league in the world. He only mentions United and Chelsea by name because these clubs have prominent Belgian footballers in their squads who serve as a model for Witsel to emulate in his aspirations to play in the Premier League.

"Indeed, I hope [...] there will come a day when one of those [big] clubs will show interest...

My preference goes out to the Premier League. Not because half the national team is playing, but because competition is the most viewed. "

-Axel Witsel; source: Nieuwsblad via Google Translate

It is most certainly not a "come and get me plea" as much as many of us would probably like Chelsea to go and get him.