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08/03/2012 - 22:50 BST

Premier League Trio Make Eyes at Benfica Midfielder Axel Witsel

Friday, 9th March, 2012

Three of the Premier League’s elite sides are weighing up a summer swoop for Benfica midfielder Axel Witsel, according to Portuguese daily O Jogo.

Witsel only joined the Lisbon giants last summer from Belgian outfit Standard Liege, but has already impressed enough to attract admiring glances from Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United.

The €8M that Benfica paid for the 23-year-old is already looking a bargain, as Witsel continues the progress which saw him clock up 193 games and 45 goals with Standard.

Benfica president Luis Filipe Vieira is reported to have turned down an offer of €20M from an unnamed club as recently as last week, as the chase for Witsel’s signature starts to heat up ahead of the summer transfer market.

It is believed that the Estadio da Luz outfit are looking for a minimum of €35M before the Belgian’s departure is even a subject worth discussing.

Witsel is under contract with Benfica until 2016 and has helped the Portuguese giants to second spot in the country’s league; Benfica lost out in Portugal’s Clasico against FC Porto last week, being beaten 3-2 at the Estadio da Luz, but remain firmly in the title race.

The midfielder also played a key role earlier this week as Benfica dumped Zenit St. Petersburg out of the Champions League and progressed to the quarter-final stage.

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