Aston Villa want to take Axel Tuanzebe back from Manchester United if he is made available this summer, according to a report.
Tuanzebe has come through the youth ranks at United to reach the cusp of the first-team. While he has 37 senior appearances under his belt, he very much remains on the fringes. Four-and-a-half years on from his debut, the defender will be keen to progress at a faster rate than at present.
So far, his best chance of doing so came when he was on loan at Villa between January 2018 and summer 2019. During that 18-month spell in the Championship, he made 35 appearances – almost as many as he has overall for United.
Tuanzebe helped Villa win promotion in his second season on loan. Now, they are firmly established back where they belong in the Premier League, although they ended up dropping to mid-table despite a promising start last season.
They have made their intentions clear early this summer, though. Emiliano Buendia has already arrived in a club-record transfer; they are also looking to sign James Ward-Prowse and Emile Smith Rowe.
But another area Dean Smith wants to strengthen is in defence. He currently has two strong options in Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa at centre-back, but wants more depth there.
Therefore, according to Football Insider, a reunion with Tuanzebe would be an interesting option to consider. The defender has reportedly asked United to let him leave and Villa could be the ideal destination.
At the age of 23, the one-time England under-21 international needs to find more regular gametime. Villa may be able to provide him with that.
The report does not clarify whether they want to sign him permanently or on loan, although it seems their plan is to pay for his transfer. United will thus need to make a decision on whether to accept whatever terms Villa put on the table.
The Red Devils have Tuanzebe under contract for just one more year, although there is the option to extend that by 12 months.
Man Utd line up defender signing
Tuanzebe will only ask more questions about his pathway to regular first-team football at United if they sign another defender.
That’s exactly what they are expected to do; they have reportedly reached an agreement over a major signing in that department.
An announcement is not yet close as there is still work to do. But if they can get it over the line, it would be a major boost – if not for Tuanzebe.