Borussia Dortmund have completed the signing of Belgium international Axel Witsel from Chinese club Tianjin Quanjian.
— Borussia Dortmund (@BVB) August 6, 2018
Axel Witsel arrived at Dortmund’s training camp on Monday hoping to finalise a move to the Bundesliga after 18 months with Chinese Super League side Tianjin Quanjian. The 29-year-old signs a 4-year-contract with the club with the fee rumoured to be around £18 million. Dortmund have indicated that they anticipate the transfer to be formally completed with FIFA’s approval in the coming days.
Sporting Director, Michael Zorc said: “For several months already we’ve been strongly interested in signing Axel Witsel, and we’re very happy that he’s chosen to join Borussia Dortmund.”
“Axel is a player with huge international experience who has all the skills required to shape BVB’s central midfield: tactical understanding, strength in the tackle, speed, creativity and a good mentality.”
This will be the first time Axel Witsel has played in one of Europe's top five leagues:
🇧🇪 Belgian Pro League
🇵🇹 Primeira Liga
🇷🇺 Russian Premier League
🇨🇳 Chinese Super League
Better late than never. 😉 https://t.co/mQC5tPLrHS
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 6, 2018
Axel Witsel started his career at Standard Liege, winning two Belgian League titles, the Belgian Cup and two Belgian Super Cups between 2007-2011. He then won the 2012 Portuguese League Cup in his debut season with Benfica, before adding the Russian Premier League, Russian Cup, and Russian Super Cup to his collection through a four-year spell at Zenit St Petersburg. Witsel then moved to Tianjin Quanjian in January 2017, registering 5 goals and 3 assists in 36 appearances for the Chinese Super League side.
The midfielder started 5 of Belgium’s 6 matches and was a key player for Belgium as they finished third place in the World Cup this year in Russia.
Witsel said: “I’m totally happy and also proud to be allowed to play for BVB soon. After our first conversation, I did not have to think twice, because for me Borussia Dortmund is one of the best clubs on the continent. After the World Cup, it was my goal to move back to Europe from China.
“I’m totally happy and also proud to be allowed to play for Dortmund. I didn’t have to think twice after the first talks, because, for me, Dortmund is one of the best clubs on the continent. Honestly, I can’t wait to run aground in front of 81,000 people.”
— Axel Witsel (@axelwitsel28) August 6, 2018
Witsel becomes the club’s 7th signing of the summer after the arrivals of Abdou Diallo, Thomas Delaney, Marius Wolf, Marwin Hitz, Eric Oelschlagel and Achraf Hakimi.