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01st Aug 2018

Borussia Dortmund consider legal action against Chinese club for refusing to sell them Axel Witsel

Borussia Dortmund met the player's release clause but Tianjin Quanjian are adamant that they will sell him to an English club

Reuben Pinder

Not news you hear every day

Axel Witsel has found himself in the middle of a legal tug of war between Borussia Dortmund and his current club, Tianjin Quanjian of the Chinese Super League.

Borussia Dortmund are keen to sign the Belgian midfielder and have reportedly triggered his release clause. But according to Bild, Tianjin Quanjian are refusing to sell the player to Dortmund, and are set on selling him to an English club.

The same report states that Dortmund are considering legal action against the Chinese club for failing to comply with the custom of selling to whichever club meets a player’s release clause.

Links between Witsel and Dortmund arose when Belgian broadcaster RTBF claimed Witsel, was close to a move to the German club. But Tianjin Quanjian coach Paulo Sousa has denied any reports linking Witsel with a move away.

“There has been no news about his transfer to leave the team from the club or the player,” Sousa told reporters ahead of Wednesday’s Chinese Super League clash with Shanghai SIPG.

He also said that he expects his star player back in China this week after the World Cup.

Sousa admitted that “there may be a special clause in the contract”, he his insisted that “any transfer should be in the early part of the transfer window, but China’s transfer window is closed.”

According to local Chinese sources, Tianjin Quanjian claim that the release clause can only be activated during Chinese transfer window, which does not align with the European window.

However, Barcelona were able to sign Paulinho from Guangzhou Evergrande last summer by activating his release clause outside that period of time, so it is unclear as tohow strict that rule is.

According to the Daily Express, one of the English clubs to whom Witsel has been offered is Manchester United, who will be without Nemanja Matić for the start of the season after he underwent surgery last week.