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Tianjin coach: 'I believe Witsel will come back'

By Rune Gjerulff

Tianjin Quanjian coach Paulo Sousa says he expects Axel Witsel to stay despite the alleged interest from Borussia Dortmund.

Axel Witsel.
Axel Witsel.Photo: Светлана Бекетова/Soccer.ru/CC-by-SA 3.0
Belgian international Axel Witsel has lately been heavily linked with a transfer from Chinese side Tianjin Quanjian to Borussia Dortmund.

Various media sources have claimed that the deal is nearing completion with Belgian media outlet RTBF even reporting that Witsel, currently on vacation following the World Cup, has gone through a medical at Dortmund.

However, Tianjin Quanjian coach Paulo Sousa now underlines that he expects Witsel to return to China after his holiday.

"There has been no news about his transfer to leave the team from the club or the player," Sousa said according to ESPN and added:

"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."

It has been reported that there is a €20 million exit clause in Witsel's contract, which runs until 2019, but Sousa claims that it's only possible to trigger the clause when the Chinese transfer window is open. It slam shut on July 13.

"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. China's transfer window is closed," Sousa said according to ESPN.

The 29-year-old central midfielder joined the Chinese club in January 2017.

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