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Premier League big spenders join Everton in £30m Belgium international battle - report

By Harvey Byrne

Chelsea are set to rival Everton for Belgium international Axel Witsel, according to a report.

The Express claim that Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has grown frustrated in his pursuit of Roma star Radja Nainggolan and will now turn his attentions to Witsel.

The 27-year-old mifielder is set to leave Zenit St. Petersburg this summer after joining the Russian club for £30million from Benfica in 2012 and Everton are reportedly interested.

Earlier this month Witsel stated that a move to England interested him.

“I want to try a new experience in a different league, a new challenge,” he told Italian outlet La Gazzetta dello Sport.

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“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.”

The Belgian central midfielder starred for the Russian outfit in the recently completed season as he made 41 appearances across all competitions and played a key role during Zenit’s European campaign where they made the round of 16.

Witsel has been an integral part of Belgium’s own “golden generation” since making his debut in 2008 and has featured in 72 encounters for his country.

The midfielder is currently in France and has started for his nation in all four of their matches in the tournament so far.

In the other Everton news, A Chinese consortium are targeting Toffees striker Romelu Lukaku.