Big Blow for Conte: Belgian star to snub Chelsea offer for their Premier League rivals

Sankha Ghosh / 24 July 2016

Everton have agreed on a £25million fee with Zenit St Petersburg for Axel Witsel and are waiting for the Belgium international to commit to their contract offer, Daily Mail reports.

Chelsea have been in the chase for the 27-year-old Belgium since mid-June but have faced competition for Napoli, Inter Milan, and Everton lately.

Now it seems, Antonio Conte will lose his potential transfer target to Premier League rivals.

Witsel even told Zenit he wishes to leave and the Russian club have accepted Everton’s proposal ahead of rival offers so far.

Zenit coach Mircea Lucescu said: “He has spoken with the club and he has asked to leave. He has two offers from Italy and two from England.

“The club placed a high valuation on him because he is an important player, one of international level. We are talking about a player who can do well in many teams.”

Witsel signed for Zenit for £34m from Benfica in 2012 and has been linked with several clubs over the past 18 months but attempts to tempt him away have proved notoriously complicated.

Everton had offered £38m for Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly which was matched by Chelsea but he is discussing a new contract with the Italian club. Everton boss Koeman is also an admirer of Swansea midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson but Swansea value to the Iceland international at over £30m.

Earlier, reports stated that Chelsea have agreed to terms with the Belgian midfielder, and the signing could be announced as early as next week.

The move could have put the future of Nemanja Matic in doubt, with the Serbian being heavily linked with a move to Manchester United or Juventus.