Pundit backs Aston Villa to seal transfer for Man Utd defender

Joe Williams
Axel Tuanzebe Man Utd
Axel Tuanzebe Man Utd

Aston Villa have been backed to sign Man Utd defender Axel Tuanzebe in the summer transfer window by former striker Gabby Agbonlahor.

The Red Devils announced yesterday that they have agreed a deal with Real Madrid for the signing of centre-back Raphael Varane.

Varane joins Harry Maguire – the world’s most expensive defender – Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones and Tuanzebe as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s centre-back options.

Varane signing is proof of one key change at Man United

That signing has pushed Tuanzebe further down the pecking order after ten appearances in all competitions for Solskjaer’s side last season.

Five of those appearances were from the start, four in the Premier League, while the other five were from the substitutes’ bench.

Tuanzebe joined Aston Villa on loan in January 2018 but after only five appearances his deal was cut short due to injury.

However, the following summer he rejoined on a temporary deal until the end of season, playing 30 times in all competitions as Villa were promoted to the Premier League via the play-offs.

And now Villa legend Agbonlahor reckons Tuanzebe could be bought this summer if he isn’t promised regular game time at Man Utd.

When asked whether there was a possibility of his former club bringing Tuanzebe to Villa Park, Agbonlahor told Football Insider: “Definitely.

“For the sake of his own career, he has to leave. He’s been there for too long now and not got a starting place, he plays the odd game.

“Sometimes you need to leave a big club, go and play and have a career. I’m sure that’s something Axel’s thinking about now with Varane coming in. There’s [Victor] Lindelof and [Eric] Bailly still there so he’s going to be fifth-choice centre-back.

“For me, it’s definitely something that Aston Villa can try and get done. I’m sure they can get a lesser fee because Manchester United will want to get him out of the club if he’s not going to play.”

Meanwhile, former Manchester City defender Danny Mills believes that Solskjaer is bluffing over Jesse Lingard’s future at the club.

The England international impressed out on loan at West Ham last campaign and the Man Utd boss has claimed he is in his plans for this season.

However, Mills isn’t buying it, he told Football Insider: “I don’t quite understand this.

“Whether it’s just Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Manchester United saying the right things to keep the transfer fee high. The moment you say he’s surplus to requirements you annoy the player and devalue him very, very quickly because everybody knows you want to get rid of him.

“I said this when he went to West Ham and started playing well, Ole said ‘Oh, he was brilliant with us, he’d been training well and looking sharp’. Why did you let him go out on loan then?

“He didn’t take time to get going, he hit the ground immediately. If he was sharp in training and looking after himself like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer squad, why was he not in and around the Man United squad?

“Suddenly, he’s gone out and done well and now he’s back in. There was no reason to send him out on loan in the first place, if that was the case.

“I think this is a little bit of a bluff. They want to keep up appearances, ‘We want to keep him. If you want him, you’re going to have to prise him away rather than us give him away’.”