By Sean Fisher

23rd Sep, 2022 | 9:10am

Alex Witsel shares details on failed Everton move

Everton came extremely close to signing Alex Witsel back in 2016 after agreeing a £30m fee with Zenit St Petersburg, but the Belgian midfielder stayed put.

Witsel revealed this week that he almost found himself playing Premier League football, with both Everton and Tottenham interested in his signature over recent years.

The Everton manager at the time, Ronald Koeman, was a huge admirer and wanted to bring Witsel to Goodison Park, but wage issues became an issue in negotiations according to Liverpool Echo, with the midfielder instead eventually joining Chinese side Tianjin Quanjian which earned him a reported €350,000-per-week.

The 33-year-old midfielder confirmed the rumours this week while speaking to ESPN: “Yes, I can. It was Everton and one time Tottenham.”

Witsel eventually moved back to Europe and made himself a star at Borussia Dortmund before recently making the switch to Atletico Madrid over the summer.

What could have been

Witsel’s failed move will no doubt leave Everton fans thinking ‘what if?’…

After all, the Belgian midfielder did go on to win titles with Dortmund while also being a regular in the Champions League and for his national team.

But Toffees fans shouldn’t be too upset about missing out as Witsel’s deal falling through led Koeman to Aston Villa instead, where he signed Idrissa Gueye for £7.1million.

Since then, Everton fans fell in love with the Senegalese midfielder, sold him for £29million to PSG, and then reunited with him this summer for a bargain £2million price tag.

He’s started the season incredibly well alongside Alex Iwobi and Amadou Onana in a midfield trio, and still is well capable of controlling the tempo of a match at 32 years old.

It’s easy to sit and rue Witsel’s failed move, but perhaps with Gueye coming in it was a blessing in disguise all along.