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 By Ben Gladwell

Shanghai SIPG join Juventus in Axel Witsel race - report

Axel Witsel's Zenit St peterburg contract is due to expire in the summer.

Juventus face competition from Chinese club Shanghai SIPG over the signing of Zenit St Peterburg midfielder Axel Witsel, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Belgium international Witsel, 27, was expected to join the Bianconeri in the summer but Zenit vetoed the move while the player was already in Turin, having undergone a medical, since they did not have enough time to find a replacement.

Juve had already agreed terms with the player and can take him on a free transfer when his contract with the Russian club expires in June, although they have held talks over a potential January switch

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, though, Shanghai SIPG -- who this month signed Oscar from Chelsea -- are offering €20 million to Zenit and €10m to Witsel in a bid to beat Juve to the signing.

Carlo Nicolini, one of Zenit boss Mircea Lucescu's assistant coaches, told RadioVS that Juventus are only offering €6m.

"Six million is not much and Lucescu says that he will not even think of selling him for that amount because Zenit would be losing a lot and, with that money, wouldn't find a suitable replacement," Carlo Nicolini, one of Lucescu's assistant coaches, told RadioVS. "If they were to offer more than that amount then it's fair to say the club could let him go.

"Juve seem to be too stuck on €6m. They seem convinced that they will sign him and Witsel has also stated how he wants to join the Bianconeri."

Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.

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