Axel Witsel agrees move to Chinese Super League side Tianjin Quanjian

Axel Witsel has agreed a deal to join Tianjin Quanjian
Image: Axel Witsel has agreed a deal to join Tianjin Quanjian

Axel Witsel is the latest European-based player to move to the Chinese Super League after agreeing to join Tianjin Quanjian from Zenit St. Petersburg.

The Russian club confirmed a deal had been reached for the Belgium international midfielder and said Witsel will sign a five-year contract at Tianjin, who recently won promotion to China's top league.

The 27-year-old, who has won 78 caps for Belgium, will be coached by Italy's 2006 World Cup winning captain Fabio Cannavaro.

Witsel joined Zenit St. Petersburg in 2012
Image: Witsel joined Zenit St. Petersburg in 2012

Witsel joined Zenit in September 2012 and spent five seasons in St. Petersburg, playing 180 times and scoring 22 goals.

He helped the side win the Russian league title, the Russian Cup and the Russian Super Cup.

Brazilian football player Oscar (C) receives flowers as he arrives at Shanghai airport on January 2, 2017.  
Brazilian midfielder Oscar landed in Shanghai
Image: Oscar joined Shanghai SIPG for a fee of around £60m

Italian media quoted Witsel this week saying that he had rejected the chance to join Serie A champions Juventus after receiving "a crucial offer for my family that I couldn't turn down" from Tianjin.

A statement on Zenit's website read: "Everyone here at Zenit wishes to thank Axel for his contribution to the club's history."

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Carlos Tevez has signed for Shanghai Shenhua (credit: Shanghai Shenhua FC)
Image: Carlos Tevez signed for Shanghai Shenhua (pic: Shanghai Shenhua official site)

Witsel joins the likes of Carlos Tevez and Brazilian midfielder Oscar who have recently secured moves to the cash-rich Super League.

Zenit sold Brazilian striker Hulk to Shanghai SIPG for €55.8m in June.

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