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John Obi Mikel out, Axel Witsel in?

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Before you do anything, count to ten.

Ready?

Deep breath.

So, two rumors walk into a bar.  One says, hey, did you hear about the one where long-time Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel may be off to Al Ain or Fenerbahce or wherever else?  I know, I know, he gets linked with a move away almost every summer, but this time ... this time, the rumors keep coming and there's a general feeling it may actually be true for whatever reason?  So the other one smiles and says, oh yeah, that ain't nothing!  Did you hear the one about Axel Witsel?  (I could link many other, equally dubious sources for this, mind you.)

And then the bartender kicks them both out for disturbing the peace.

Rumors about Witsel's future at Zenit St. Petersburg have been around for a while.  They've mostly had the ex-Benfica man moving to Juventus, but apparently Juve's low-ball offer was rejected, and the Italian champions also added Sami Khedira recently to make up the numbers with Pirlo leaving.  Juve could of course still need midfield help if they lose Paul Pogba (or Arturo Vidal) this summer, but for now, the rumors around Witsel have taken on a much more Premier League flavor.  I'm seeing both Manchester United and Chelsea mentioned, with the latter ahead on volume and specificity, such as a £24m fee.

Witsel has been around seemingly forever, but he's still just 26.  He's probably just about to enter his prime.  I suspect most of us would jump at that deal, especially if Pogba remains unavailable and/or astronomically expensive.  Either way, from the sounds of it, if we play our cards right, we should be able to end up with one of the two this summer, easily solving our midfield depth issues (even if Mikel leaves).

Come on, AVB, do us a solid.  Maybe we can even throw in Falcao on loan as a sweetener?