L’Équipe report today that Belgian midfielder Axel Witsel has chosen Atlético Madrid over Marseille for a summer move, as he leaves Borussia Dortmund at the end of his contract.
OM had identified the Belgian international as their priority target to replace Boubacar Kamara, who left his formative club for Aston Villa on a free transfer this summer after a protracted contract renewal saga.
The player himself had acknowledged the contacts with the Ligue 1 side earlier in the week, but the 33-year-old will instead sign a one-year contract with the Spaniards, with an option for an extra season.
Marseille’s offer was a two-year deal with a potential third season which would be triggered should he reach a certain number of appearances in his second camapign. He was also assured of a starting place in a Champions League side.
Witsel, who leaves the Bundesliga after four years, was Marseille’s first choice, but they are also looking at Villarreal’s Francis Coquelin. The former Arsenal man is under contract in Spain until 2024, and would reportedly command a fee of between €5m and €10m.