Borussia Dortmund assistant coach Rene Maric has claimed reports linking Axel Witsel with a €5million move to Aston Villa are "obvious nonsense".
Premier League club Villa are in the market for a midfielder and are rumoured to have been offered Dortmund's 32-year-old Belgium international Witsel.
Injury blighted Witsel's 2020-21 campaign but the former Zenit St Petersburg midfielder has started all three of Dortmund's Bundesliga games so far this season, and the DFB-Supercup, albeit he has been required to fill in at the back rather than in his usual role.
Witsel played the full match as Dortmund edged out Hoffenheim 3-2 thanks to Erling Haaland's late winner on Friday, though that did not stop speculation over his future.
However, in a comical twist, Dortmund assistant Maric used his official social media account to rubbish the reports.
"It's obvious nonsense, can't understand how some people are pretending it's not just to make a headline," Maric tweeted in response to a post quoting a report written by Sport Witness, which cited Tuttosport as the source.
it‘s obvious nonsense, can‘t understand how some people are pretending it‘s not just to make a headline— René Marić (@ReneMaric) August 29, 2021
Maric did not leave it there, however, as when he was asked for a "source" to back up his statement, the coach replied with a photo of himself and Witsel.
Since joining Dortmund from Chinese Super League side Tianjin Tianhai in 2018, Witsel has established himself as one of the leading holding midfielders in the Bundesliga.
Witsel has made 79 appearances in Germany's top flight for Dortmund, helping BVB to 51 victories.
Dortmund's win percentage with Witsel in the side is 64.6, yet the rate drops to 57.7 without the Belgian, who has missed 26 league games in total.
BVB also average slightly more points per game with Witsel than without him – 2.1 compared to 1.9.