Tianjin Quanjian coach Paulo Sousa believes that Axel Witsel will return to the Chinese club after the completion of his extended holiday, despite strong rumours of a move to Borussia Dortmund.
According to ESPN, Sousa is supposedly calm about the former Zenit midfielder returning to the club, despite Belgian broadcaster RTBF claiming that the 29-year-old has already undergone a medical with the Bundesliga club.
Though Tianjin Quanjian is making the last effort to persuade Axel Witsel to stay and insisted that he will return on Aug. 5th, according to Belgium media, Witsel is close to Borussia Dortmund after completing the medical test with €20m release fee for Dortmund to pay. pic.twitter.com/hI0xZWJd3Q— Titan Sports Plus (@titan_plus) August 1, 2018
Witsel is still on holiday due to Belgium's third place finish at the World Cup in Russia this summer. His club manager, Sousa, said on the matter: "There has been no news about his transfer to leave the team from the club or the player.
"I believe he will come back. He is very important to the team. I hope that I see him come back to training on August 5, and then he can continue to help the team for the rest of the season."
The Belgian midfielder signed for the Chinese Super League side in January of last year, helping them to their first AFC Champions League qualification.
Allegedly, Witsel's contract with Tianjin contained a €20m release clause should a European club target him. However, according to Sousa, that condition has already expired with the closure of the Chinese transfer window on 13th July.
"My understanding is that there may be a special clause in the contract but any transfer should be in the early part of the transfer window, but China's transfer window is closed," said Sousa.
Shu Yuyui, chairman of the club, echoed these claims from Sousa, saying that Witsel would be back in China by Sunday.
Should Witsel make the move to Germany, it would be the Belgian's first time in one of Europe's top five leagues. Having been a player of some pedigree for many years now at club and international level, the 29-year-old's move to a top European club has been long overdue.