Chelsea have emerged as favourites to sign Zenit St Petersburg midfielder Alex Witsel and have made a late bid to sign the 27-year-old amid interest from the likes of Liverpool and Everton. The midfielder has only a year left in his current contract and is willing to make a move this summer to a better league.

The Sunday People reports that Witsel would prefer a move to London than Merseyside, making the Blues favourites for his signature. Antonio Conte is reportedly a huge fan of the midfielder and has urged owner Roman Abramovich to put his weight behind the deal. Witsel has his eyes set on a move to England or Italy and has previously expressed a desire to make a switch.

"I'd like to play in the Premier League or Italy next season. I would try an experience in another league, a new challenge," Witsel told Gazzetta dello Sport. "I hope to step up a level and play at a big European club. My future may be in Italy or England. It doesn't matter if I go to Serie A or the Premier League as long as it's a great club."

The Blues will be looking to get back into the top four after finishing the 2015/16 season in 10th spot, 16 points behind Manchester City, who were fourth. They have already completed a deal for Michy Batshuayi from Marseille and are close to securing Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli in order to strengthen their defence. They need reinforcements in attack especially after terminating the loan deals for Alexandre Pato and Radamel Falcao.

Axel Witsel
Witsel was with the Belgian national team in the EurosGetty

Conte will take over the Chelsea team after his stint with Italy in Euro 2016. where he bowed out on penalties to Germany in the quarter-finals. The Azzurri held the World Champions 1-1 in normal time but either team failed to break the deadlock going into the extra period. Germany eventually crashed out of the tournament to France, will now take on Portugal in the finals on Sunday, 10 June.