Monday, 3rd September, 2012
Zenit St. Petersburg have followed up their breathtaking signing of Hulk from FC Porto by snapping up midfielder Axel Witsel from Benfica.
The Russian champions are believed to have paid between €40M and €50M for Hulk and have now met Witsel’s release clause at the Estadio da Luz, a further €40M.
Witsel has inked a five-year deal with Luciano Spalletti’s men and will wear the number 28 shirt in a move which takes the Russian side’s spending close to the €100M mark in just 24 hours.
Witsel has been linked with a number of clubs over the last year, including Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Real Madrid.
He only joined Benfica last summer, signing from Standard Liege, but made an instant impact with the Portuguese giants.
The 23-year-old shone in the club’s Champions League games, demonstrating his ability to cut the mustard at the highest of levels, and adding to his list of suitors in the process.
Now the riches of Zenit have tempted Witsel, with Benfica powerless to prevent his move after his termination clause was met.