Aston Villa have learned that Manchester United are planning to sell their target Axel Tuanzebe this summer, according to a report.
Tuanzebe spent the promotion-winning season of 2018-19 on loan at Villa, who now want him back. After a promising 2020-21 ended with a mid-table finish, Dean Smith’s side are now looking to build. Defence is one of the areas they want to strengthen, despite Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa forming a solid partnership.
Smith wants another centre-back to compete with the starting duo, alongside backup option Kourtney Hause. Having worked with Tuanzebe before, he is keen to do so again.
The 23-year-old made 19 appearances in all competitions for United last season. However, he only managed four starts in the Premier League. His contract is now entering its final year and he faces an important decision over his future.
Villa chiefs have reportedly been in contact with their United counterparts. From those discussions, it has emerged that the Red Devils are willing to get rid of their academy graduate this summer.
United will “listen to offers” for Tuanzebe if they can sign a replacement, it is claimed. While he is not a key player at Old Trafford, it is important for them to retain depth at the back.
But Tuanzebe has not had as many opportunities as some thought he would, so a separation seems sensible. He is currently behind Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly in the pecking order; United are also trying to sign a new starter alongside Maguire, such as Raphael Varane or Jules Kounde.
Therefore, first-team football might be easier to find at Villa, even if he wouldn’t necessarily be first choice there either.
Smith still admires his qualities and believes he fits the profile that is required at Villa Park. His qualities and Premier League experience would make him a useful addition.
And with United giving them hope, their chances of signing Tuanzebe may be on the rise.
Tuanzebe tipped for Villa return
Back in May, former Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor said a return to the club would be ideal for Tuanzebe.
When asked if he would like to see the defender return to Dean Smith’s side, Agbonlahor said: “All day long.
“He’s the sort of player that would push the two Villa centre-halves at the moment.
“He’s got great pace, he’s a great player and he’s played at Aston Villa before. He can play at right-back too so he can fill in at that position.
“100 per cent, it’s something Villa should be looking at.
“It’s come to the stage for him, how long do you want to stay at Man Utd and play five games a season? He’s got to look at his own career now and the amount of appearances he’s making.
“I’m sure he’ll be wanting to leave in the summer and that would be a great signing.”