Tottenham transfer news: Axel Witsel prepared to leave Zenit St Petersburg to 'play in bigger league' next season

The 27-year-old’s contract at the Petrovsky Stadium expires at the end of next season

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The Independent Football

Zenit St Petersburg midfielder Axel Witsel has alerted his lengthy list of suitors, including Tottenham and Stoke City, by saying he wishes to “play in a bigger league” next year.

The 27-year-old’s contract at the Petrovsky Stadium expires at the end of next season and the Belgium international, capped 63 times for his country, has courted the interest of a host of Premier League clubs in the past 12 months.

André Villas-Boas, the Zenit manager, has announced his own intentions to leave the Russian giants this summer following a timid defence of their title before also being knocked out of the Champions League at the round-of-16 stage by Benfica.

“I still have a contract for one more year come June and the club know how I feel,” Witsel told La Derniere Heure. “I would like to play in a bigger league. I cannot say that I will 100 per cent leave, but we have not held talks over a new deal and my intention is to leave this summer.

“I want to focus on finishing the season on a high, then there's the Euros and then we will see what happens.

“I spoke to a number of clubs last summer, but it was not about money for Zenit. They wanted to keep me because of the Champions League and there was no time to sign a replacement.

“When a player has just one year left on his contract, a club cannot demand too much money. I don't think Zenit will be asking €40m for me.” 

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