Sought after Zenit St. Petersburg star Axel Witsel has stated his intention to leave the club, preferring a move to Serie A, dealing a blow to both Everton and Liverpool's hopes of securing his services, according to the Daily Star.
Having spent four years in Russia, the 27-year-old is reportedly ready for a new challenge, and has been attracting the likes of the two Merseyside clubs and Juventus.
Witsel had previously outlined a preference to play in either England or Italy, saying: "I want to try a new experience in a different League, a new challenge."
"I hope to step up a level and play in a big European club. My future could be in Italy or in England. It doesn’t matter if I go to Serie A or the Premier League, as long as it’s a big club."
However, with Paul Pogba's record-breaking transfer to Manchester United from Juventus confirmed, Witsel has now stated a desire to replace the Frenchman at the Italian champions.
This will serve as further frustration for both Liverpool and Everton, who are believed to have offered Zenit St. Petersburg more money than Juventus.
However, with Liverpool having already signed Georginio Wijnaldum earlier this summer, Witsel may not necessarily top their list of transfers targets.
But his preferred switch to Serie A will be a blow to Everton, who have targeted the Belgium international for some time now.
Witsel was a constant threat for Belgium as they reached the quarter-finals of Euro 2016.
A move to the Premier League would certainly see Witsel excel, as he possesses the technique on the ball and industry going forward that has attracted a host of clubs.