Dortmund reach agreement with Witsel

Axel Witsel has attained his goal of returning to Europe after Borussia Dortmund agreed to pay the release clause in his contract at Tianjin Quanjian.

Reports in Germany last week claimed that Dortmund were set to activate his €20 million release after the Belgium international impressed during his country’s run to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals.

Quanjian manager Paulo Sousa was hoping to keep hold of Witsel until the end of the year as the Chinese transfer window had already closed last month.

But Dortmund appear to have followed in the footsteps of Barcelona, who acquired the services of Paulinho in August 2017 after triggering his release clause at Guangzhou Evergrande.

Witsel has reached an agreement on a four-year deal with the Bundesliga giants and is looking forward to playing in one of the best leagues in the world.

“After the World Cup, I was determined to transfer back to Europe. I am really happy and also proud that I will soon be able to play for Dortmund,” the 29-year-old midfielder told the club’s official website.

“I didn’t have to think about it for very long after our first discussion because Borussia Dortmund is one of the best clubs on the continent in my opinion. I honestly cannot wait to run out in front of 81 000 people.”

Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc added: “We have been very interested in bringing Axel to the club for a number of months now and are really happy that he has opted for Borussia Dortmund.

“Axel is a player of great international experience who brings all the qualities required to make a mark on the Dortmund midfield: tactical awareness, strength when challenging for the ball, pace, creativity, and mentality.”

Witsel is expected to finalise his move to Signal Iduna Park this week, but has already linked up with Lucien Favre’s squad for their pre-season training camp in Switzerland.