By Tom Blackburn
Everton have missed out on signing Axel Witsel as the midfielder prepares to join Napoli, according to a report.
Football Insider reported on Saturday that Evertons deal with Zenit St Petersburg had collapsed after “issues” during discussions with the player.
Now, Italian sports newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport claim that the Belgian will join Napoli after a £25million fee was agreed.
Ronald Koeman’s side had been hopeful that the 27-year-old would become their first marquee signing of what is shaping up to be a record-breaking spending spree this summer.
It was said that Everton would pay £30million for Witsel and Koeman even admitted to autograph hunters at then end of last week that there was a possibility that the Belgium international and Manchester United winger Juan Mata could sign for Everton.
But the Dutch manager has now been forced into a major U-turn and will have to turn his sights elsewhere for squad reinforcements this summer.
Witsel was with the Belgium national side up until last week when they were spectacularly knocked out by Wales in the quarter-finals.
The combative midfielder has already made it clear to his club that he wants to leave after four years in Russia and has now entered the final year of his Zenit contract.
Witsel impressed his suitors again this season, particularly in the Champions League as Zenit dominated their group and made it to the last-16.
The Belgian has 72 appearances for his country despite and his arrival would mark a significant beginning to Koeman’s reign as Everton boss.
In other Everton news, they missed out on signing a Euro 2016 sensation under David Moyes.