So this was referenced in an earlier article, but we never actually wrote about it. One of the forgotten stories of this transfer window for Tottenham Hotspur is that, for a very short time, Spurs appeared to be interested in signing midfielder Axel Witsel from Zenit St. Petersburg. In fact, Sky Sports even ran a (now deleted) story that Spurs made a £13.1m bid for Witsel on Monday that was quickly rejected.
There are reports even today in various media circles that Spurs "haven't given up hope" on signing Witsel and that the player himself wanted a move. Don't believe it. Tottenham have no chance. First, Zenit fired back a response suggesting that Spurs absolutely could have Witsel... if they paid his €100m release clause.
Then there's this from Kristoff Terreur:
Axel Witsel: "Zenit told me I couldn't leave. Even not for €70m. It's a pity as I hoped to leave, but I understand their decision." #coys— Kristof Terreur (@HLNinEngeland) September 1, 2015
Finally, there's the combination of the Andre Villas-Boas Factor,™ as he thoroughly burned his bridges connecting him to the club, and the Crazy Russian Owner Factor™ which makes Zenit difficult to deal with in the best of circumstances.
Axel Witsel would've been a pretty sweet signing for Tottenham Hotspur, but don't believe any further reports that and his awesome 'fro will be signing before deadline day.