Tianjin Quanjian manager Paulo Sousa says Axel Witsel will not be leaving the Chinese Super League club to join Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga.
Kicker reports that the Belgium international has a €20 million release clause in his contract which Dortmund was willing to meet, but Sousa claims it cannot be activated as the Chinese transfer window is shut.
Witsel is said to be still on holiday in Ibiza following his 2018 World Cup exploits in Russia and is yet to return to duty for his club.
Nonetheless, the German publication claims that the BVB are willing to pay the necessary fee to secure his services, though it appears Quanjian are not interested in letting him leave.
Speaking to Chinese state television CGTN, Sousa said: “I have not received any information about Witsel’s transfer from either the club or the player.
“I understand that the player has a clause in his contract, but this clause can only be used during the transfer window in China and it is closed (since mid-July). The transfer will not take place.”
Meanwhile, Dortmund is reportedly considering legal action as Barcelona were able to activate Paulinho’s release clause to sign him from Guangzhou Evergrande in August 2017, despite it falling outside of the transfer window.