Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd summer defender deal already springing to mind – but agent urges patience

Axel Tuanzebe battling Lorenzo Venuti

Napoli have been reminded to be patient with their plans for the future of Manchester United loanee Axel Tuanzebe by one of the intermediaries who helped them sign him.

Tuanzebe made the move to Italy in January after ending his third loan spell with Aston Villa abruptly. He was not getting the same gametime under Steven Gerrard. Then, an opportunity came up for him to replace Kostas Manolas – who joined Olympiacos – at Napoli.

Man Utd sanctioned his second loan exit of the season as a result. The 24-year-old has since made two appearances for Napoli – one from the bench in Serie A and one start in the Coppa Italia.

Even before their acquisition of the defender became official, Napoli were making no secret of the potential for Tuanzebe to stay with them longer term.

His contract with Man Utd only runs until 2023, but there is no formal option for Napoli to buy him.

Still, they could return to the negotiating table should all go to plan between now and the summer.

Ideas have already been forming in Naples about Tuanzebe being a part of their squad for the 2022-23 season and beyond. But now, agent Fabrizio Ferrari has sent a reminder that any decision will be judged in the summer.

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Ferrari told TMW Radio: “At the moment it is a dry loan. It will be up to Axel’s family to talk about it with the club [Napoli] and eventually find an agreement.

“In the meantime, let’s see how it goes [for Tuanzebe], then we will judge.”

Tuanzebe is competing for a place in the Napoli backline with Kalidou Koulibaly, Amir Rrahmani and Juan Jesus at centre-back, and Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Kevin Malcuit and Alessandro Zanoli at right-back.

Ferrari critical of Man Utd treatment of Tuanzebe

Axel Tuanzebe playing for Man Utd in pre-season August 2021

This is not the first time Ferrari has spoken about Tuanzebe. After the defender left Man Utd for his Italian adventure, the agent gave a critique of his parent club’s policy.

Last month, Ferrari told Radio Punto Nuovo: “Tuanzebe was chosen, he’s not a fallback.

“They were looking for a structured defender but with speed in his legs, and Axel married very well.

“He still has to express himself to the maximum but he’s very strong and can be very useful to Napoli.

“I believe that Manchester United has made particular decisions for the growth of their young players. I don’t think they have a policy to improve their training.

“They are confusing in the management of players under contract. Tuanzebe has returned to these managerial changes.”

Whether he returns to Man Utd in the summer, only time will tell.

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