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06th Aug 2018

Axel Witsel joins Borussia Dortmund after legal dispute with Chinese club

There was a dispute over the technicalities of his release clause but the Belgian midfielder has now arrived at Borussia Dortmund

Reuben Pinder

He returns to Europe after a year in China

Axel Witsel has signed for Borussia Dortmund after a legal dispute was settled between the German club and Chinese Super League club Tianjin Quanjian.

The dispute between the two clubs arose after Dortmund triggered Witsel’s release clause, but the Chinese club claimed that they were under no obligation to sell the player due to the fact that their transfer window had closed already.

However it now seems as though the two clubs have come to an agreement after Dortmund’s official Twitter account posted a video of the Belgium international arriving at the club’s training camp to meet his new teammates.

The necessary paperwork will be submitted in the coming days.

Borussia Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc said: “For many months we have been keen to sign Axel Witsel and we are very happy that he has chosen Borussia Dortmund. Axel is a player with a great deal of international experience who has all the skills to shape the central BVB midfield: tactical understanding, tackling power, speed, creativity and mentality.”

“After the World Cup, it was my goal to move from China back to Europe,” said Witsel.

“I’m very 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. Honestly, I can not wait to run aground in front of 81,000 people.”

The holding midfielder has spent the entirety of his career outside of Europe’s ‘top five’ leagues, starting off in Belgium at Standard Liege, before moving to Benfica for a year. From there he joined Zenit St Petersburg and then moved to China for a season.

Finally, at the age of 29, he has secured a move to one of Europe’s elite. One can’t help but feel it’s come a few years too late.