Manchester United should make an easy task of Axel Tuanzebe’s sale to Aston Villa, but they may find a key barrier, according to one pundit.
The centre-back is currently on loan at Villa for the third time in his career, and there is a sense that this move could become permanent according to former Villan Kevin Phillips.
Tuanzebe has made 34 appearances for Aston Villa across his three stints at the club, and has clearly impressed boss Dean Smith, as he continues to show faith in him.
Indeed, the manager tweaked his system to a back five in Saturday’s 3-0 victory against Everton to accommodate him alongside ever-presents Ezri Konsa and club captain Tyrone Mings.
Phillips claimed a transfer for Tuanzebe would be an “easy deal” to be done when speaking to Football Insider. However, he admitted that the fee may prove a stumbling block for the Red Devils.
“Villa are a great club so I’m not surprised he’s enjoying his time there,” he said.
“Get the deal done. He has settled in really well which was to be expected given that he has already been at the club.
“It kind of smells of an easy deal to be done but sometimes it can be more difficult than you’d hope.
“What kind of fee would Man United want? That’s the big question.
“From the outside looking in it is a deal that I can see getting done though.”
Varane move pushes Tuanzebe further down Man Utd pecking order
Man Utd‘s summer signing of Raphael Varane from Real Madrid means that Tuanzebe is one of the lowest in a list of centre-backs that he wasn’t particularly high on to begin with, having only featured for the Red Devils 19 times since 2015.
“He hasn’t got a future at Man United as far as I can tell, not now that they have signed Raphael Varane,” claimed Phillips.
United were handed the opportunity to sign Varane amid Madrid’s ongoing financial troubles; the Spanish side were reported to have debts of up to €901million in January, and sold Varane – widely regarded as one of the world’s best centre backs – for £42million.
Despite Tuanzebe’s impressive performances since rejoining Villa, he will be unable to feature this weekend, due to the fixture being against his parent club United.