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Axel Tuanzebe wanted by Turkish side Besiktas but defender wants to fight for his place at Manchester United – reports

Manchester United defender Axel Tuanzebe is wanted on a season long loan spell by Turkish side Besiktas ahead of the summer transfer window opening. However, it is stated that the player would rather remain at United, fighting for his place at the club next season after spells on loan with Aston Villa inn recent seasons.

The 22-year-old has been used sparingly by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this season, making a total of ten appearances for the club. However, the player has suffered two serious injuries this season, having a hip problem which saw him missing seven matches and a hamstring problem, missing 17 matches. If he was fit, he would have played more.

Turkish journalist Ertan Suzgun has suggested that Besiktas have identified the United academy graduate as a player that could strengthen the clubs defence next season, which is all well and good as he is a player that could do the same for United, if the likes of Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo are sold by the club this summer.

Tuanzebe previously has loan spells away from United with Aston Villa, who are the time were in the Championship. He started with a six-month spell away from the club during the 2017/18 season, spending the 2018/19 season at the club, helping Villa win the play-off final and promotion to the Premier League, where they are relegation candidates this season.

This season, United have most of the time used Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof in the centre of the defence, but this has not been down to anything else other than a lack of players to choose from in rotation. Eric Bailly has suffered injury problems, Phil Jones is Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo has been at Estudianies since January.

If both Bailly and Tuanzebe had been fit, they would have had more minutes on the pitch at the club, meaning United would not have had to be so reliant on the likes of Lindelof and Maguire. If United sell Rojo, Smalling and/or Jones this summer, it could create more playing time for Bailly and Tuanzebe, which would be a good thing for both players.

Tuanzebe might, at some point in the future, if things are still the same at United, be forced to look elsewhere to be a regular starter in the team by at 22, he must know that it is not time to call an end to his United career. Showing patience as he will see the dilemma that manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will face, especially after continuing to clear the deadwood.

Rojo, Smalling and Jones are three players who have been at the club for some time, the Argentinian since 2014, Smalling since 2010 and Jones since 2011 – all three players have seemingly failed to be the clubs main starters in the past five years or so, despite the experience they all have as all three were full internationals.

Tuanzebe will be wise to look ahead into the future at what is likely to happen at the club. Rumours suggest United are seeing to sign a new defender, which cannot happen until the summer, so there is some likelihood that one, two or three players could be sold. Tuanzebe, if fit will have the remainder of the season to play himself into the managers plans for the future, which he is capable of doing.

Looking at Manchester United’s defensive depth for the 2019/20 season

Manchester United did well during the summer transfer window, adding Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who signed from Crystal Palace and Harry Maguire, who arrived from Leicester City. It was a summer that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needed to pay attention to the defence, which allowed more than 50 goals to be conceded in the Premier League along last season.

Solskjaer spent £125 million; £80 million for Maguire and an initial £45 million for Wan-Bissaka giving some much-needed defensive ability ahead of the 2019/20 season in which United would be tasked with chasing the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, to regain a place in the top four of the league.

United finished sixth last season, five points adrift of a place in the top four, which could have been much different if United managed to beat both Huddersfield Town and Cardiff City at the end of the season. However, hindsight is only fantastic when you look back as if you change two factors, other factors may have had to change also.

Goalkeeper depth; Solskjaer does not need to worry in this area.

Solskjaer has three great first-team options in goal this season; David De Gea, Sergio Romero and Lee Grant. That will be the order of importance in the squad. The club also had the likes of Dean Henderson, Joel Pereira and Kieran O’Hara, who have all been loaned out to Sheffield United, Hearts of Midlothian and Burton Albion respectively.

De Gea will be the go-to guy to start the majority of matches, namely in the Premier League. As for the Carabao Cup, the UEFA Europa League and the Emirates FA Cup, it could well be Romero who features, as he did in the cup competitions last season, other than the UEFA Champions League, of course. Grant could be a shoo-in for matches in these competitions too.

It was hoped that Henderson could have been afforded time in the Premier League this season but with De Gea’s contract being extended by the extra year agreed to in 2015, it was unlikely that he would be the first option in the goalkeeping ranks, however, he will get that Premier League experience he craved for, which might do him some good.

Fullback depth; Solskjaer’s options are much improved this season.

Last season, United’s defence left a lot to be desired. First of all, in the fullback position, Jose Mourinho, who started the season as manager, then Solskjaer had Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young, Matteo Darmian, Luke Shaw, and Diogo Dalot to choose from in both the left-back and right-back positions. Not a lot of pace, or youth for that matter.

Valencia was on the sidelines for much of the season, leaving the other four to contend for places in the squad. Young was often criticised, as way Shaw. Dalot was too inexperienced, but gave his all and Darmian seldom played. This season though, after the departure of Valencia, Wan-Bissaka arrived and has improved the position greatly.

Both Wan-Bissaka and Shaw will face competition from Young and Dalot, who can both play on the left or the right. Darmian may still play a part despite his future up in the air, although his current contract will expire at the end of the season. The fullback role is looking good for the current season with youth coming through the ranks to add more competition.

Central defensive depth; the strongest defence in six years?

Solskjaer has Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Harry Maguire, Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo and Axel Tuanzebe in his ranks for the current season. There was the rumour of Rojo likely to depart before the closure of the European transfer window at the start of September, but it is just rumour right now. With seven players, there is some depth in this area.

Bailly is injured until the Christmas period, meaning Solskjaer has six players contesting two positions in the squad. Lindelof and Maguire secured the central defensive area in the 4-0 victory over Chelsea at Old Trafford last weekend and will be expected to resume their positions against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday evening.

In case of injury to either Lindelof or Maguire, or the need for rotation, Tuanzebe will be a great option for Solskjaer as he did well during pre-season and learned some valuable things on loan with Aston Villa last season. The likes of Jones and Smalling could also be considered. Rojo not so much, based on pre-season appearances.

The depth of this squad is pretty good, despite the moaning for central midfield signings during the summer transfer window. Solskjaer will have had targets and if it was not possible to sign them, panic buying was just going to create more problems in the future with many players on high wages and unable to be moved on; Alexis Sanchez for instance.

United have many options in different areas; a minimum of three players, counting those already in the first team this season, which are players who have already made their debuts for the club in the recent years. In some positions, United has four sometimes five options, based on my opinion on where they would be able to play in the 4-2-3-1 formation.

This is the formation which Solskjaer has used more often than not, and a formation which will get the best out of the attacking players, using their hunger, determination and more importantly, their pace to launch attacking and counter-attacking plays during matches. Solskjaer’s identity seems to be young, courage and success.

Above, you can see the 4-2-3-1 formation, keeping an eye on the defence where there is a minimum of three players for each position, listed in order of importance to the squad. At fullback, both Wan-Bissaka and Shaw seem to be safe, although the emergence of Dalot could change that, more for Shaw, if he does not improve as he should have.

In the centre of defence, Lindelof and Maguire are certain to start more matches together, fitness and injury aside, but in that instance, there is some depth which could help get United through a difficult time. Tuanzebe, at least for me, is trusted more than the likes of Jones and Smalling; Bailly is at the bottom because of injury at the present time.

If the Ivorian improves his game, he could add more competition for either centre-back, which in turn will inspire players to perform to the best of their ability in order to keep their place. Competition is the best thing to bring the best out of players. This defence could achieve a lot; first of all to ensure they concede fewer than 54 goals this season.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs to give Axel Tuanzebe the chance to form a partnership with Victor Lindelof

Axel Tuanzebe has been at Manchester United since 2005, coming through the clubs Academy. When he emerged into the U18s during the 2013/14 season, post-Sir Alex Ferguson. Tuanzebe made nine appearances that season; six starts and three appearances from the bench. The following season, the central defender became the captain of the U18s, making 29 appearances, three from the bench, also playing three times for the U23s, albeit from the bench.

During the 2015/16 season, Tuanzebe played twice for the U18s, making most of his appearances for the U23s, seldom playing for the U19s, where he scored his first goal at Academy level. However, Tuanzebe suffered an injury which kept him out for four months and he ended the season at U23 level. During that time, Tuanzebe had seen both David Moyes and Louis van Gaal come and go as the clubs manager and ahead of the 2016/17 season, he would see Jose Mourinho arrive at the club.

Tuanzebe played 25 times for the U23s that season, scoring one goal. This saw him given an opportunity in the first team, making five appearances, one of those from the bench. Mourinho rated the player, letting him play for the first time during the pre-season campaign. The player had little involvement at U23 level during the 2017/18 season and during the January transfer window, the player was loaned to Championship side Aston Villa. He made only five appearances because of injury.

During the 2018/19 season, Tuanzebe was loaned to Aston Villa for the entire season and made a total of 30 appearances, a season which saw the club return to the Premier League once again. The now 21-year-old played in various positions for Villa, including right-back and as a central defender, which is where he ended the season, helping the club to win the Championship play-off final at Wembley, beating Derby County 2-1.

After the season he has just had, Tuanzebe will be, rightly so, seeking information from United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to see if he will be given a chance at the Old Trafford club during the next season. United endured one of the worst defensive seasons at the club last season, conceding 54 goals in the Premier League alone, the most goals they have conceded in the top-flight since the 1978/79 season when they conceded 63 goals in the old First Division.

It was reported in the media in the past week that Tuanzebe was ‘going to hold showdown talks with Solskjaer‘ as he has spent the last 18 months away from the club on loan, in which time he gained some valuable first team experience. The 21-year-old signed a new contract at the club days after making his first team debut back in 2017 and that contract will expire next summer. At his age and the current state of United defence, Tuanzebe should at least be given a chance this season.

With the likes of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, who have both recently signed new contracts at the Old Trafford club, both not become the players they were once tipped to be and the fact that Marcos Rojo, despite signing a new contract, has failed to break into the squad, along with the injury-plagued Eric Bailly, a player like Tuanzebe could be a great fit in this United squad, especially alongside Victor Lindelof, who improved leaps and bounds last season.

It would seem likely with the £100 million valuation of Leicester City defender Harry Maguire and the fact the links with Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly seem to have disappeared that United will not be signing a central defender this summer. If this is the case, then United, with the likes of Jones, Smalling and Rojo will not become that defensive unit they could become with a commanding leader at the back. Lindelof’s improvement last season keeps his place in the team and if Tuanzebe is given a chance and proves himself, he could be a great defensive partner.

Jones and Smalling can be squad players, rotation options if you will. However, both will need to find a confidence level that suits the team as in the past few years, they have been nowhere near their best. I have personally written both players off years ago but Ed Woodward seemed to reward them with new contracts, despite the fact both could have left the club on a free this weekend. Rojo seems so far out of the starting XI at this time that it might take a miracle for him to feature regularly under Solskjaer, despite the injury he suffered last season.

If Tuanzebe is not given the opportunity under Solskjaer at United this summer, it would go against the whole purpose of the clubs Academy. He is a player who has been highly rated by the likes of Jose Mourinho, Steve Bruce (former Villa manager) and Dean Smith (current Villa manager) and over the past season, has had the liked of John Terry to help him on his way to becoming a great central defender during his career. Ideally, that career needs to be at United. It would be a massive mistake to see his potential wasted and him pulling it out of the bag for another club.

The pre-season tour, which will see United face Perth Glory, Leeds United, Inter Milan, Tottenham Hotspur, Kristiansund, and AC Milan could be a great opportunity for Tuanzebe to find his feet at United and impress the manager ahead of the new season, in which United will start against Chelsea at the Theatre of Dreams. If it happened to work for both United and Tuanzebe, it would be considered as money saved in the transfer market with combative central defenders costing a pretty penny at this moment in time. However, United having a player of the ilk of Virgil van Dijk would benefit them too.

With Solskjaer seeking to change the way United have been doing things, which has seemingly been buying ready-made players, many of which have not actually worked at the club which had seen more than £700 million spent with little achievement post-Ferguson. After Daniel James signed for the club, the graphics used had a shield logo, in which said; Youth, Courage, Success. If that motto is to carry some weight, giving Tuanzebe an opportunity to shine is a must rather than something Solskjaer could be doing. However, he and his coaches may feel somewhat different, which could be a mistake.

Axel Tuanzebe could be the leader Manchester United require in their defensive line; he deserves the chance to prove himself

Axel Tuanzebe is a player who has risen through the ranks at Manchester United. Starting his rise to first team football in the U18s during the 2013/14 season, despite signing for the club whilst he was still at primary school, the DR Congo-born defender has started to show the signs of a player that could reach for the stars at the Old Trafford club.

Tuanzebe made 86 appearances at academy level from the 2013/14 season until the 2017/18 season; playing in the U18s, U19s and U23s also breaking into the first team where he made six appearances between the 2016/17 and 2017/18 season. The now 21-year-old scored twice whilst representing United at youth level, assisting one more goal.

When the England youth international started out at U18 level, he captained his team more than once, becoming the full-time captain during the following season. That was an early look at the players’ leadership skills, something which could help him break into the United squad under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, hopefully in the immediate future.

Tuanzebe made his break into the United first team under Louis van Gaal during the 2015/16 season where he was named on the bench, although not used. The following season, the first for new manager Jose Mourinho, the player actually played some matches making his debut in a 4-0 Emirates FA Cup victory over Wigan Athletic, replacing Tim Fosu-Mensah.

The player signed a new contract with the club days after his debut which will keep him at the Old Trafford club until the summer of 2020, although there is the option of a further year to be added. Tuanzebe is a life-long United supporter so it is only natural that he would like to play for this club. More important than ever is him breaking into the first team at the club after a successful spell with Aston Villa.

Tuanzebe was loaned to Villa during the 2017/18 season but injury struck and he was only able to make five appearances. He was then loaned to the Birmingham club for the entire 2018/19 season and has so far played a total of 29 matches and although injury struck, he was fit for the run-in with Villa achieving a place in the playoffs, beating West Bromwich Albion 4-3 on penalties after a 2-2 aggregate draw. They face Derby County at Wembley in the playoff final on Monday afternoon.

The 21-year-old is now entering a crucial stage of his career. He has seen first team football at Villa and will be looking for more. United’s defence needs new faces as the likes of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling do not have the faith of the majority of supporters and there are cries for a leader at the back – something Tuanzebe has shown at Villa at times this season. He has been praised by Nicky Butt, United academy director, who said:

“Axel [Tuanzebe] is a very talented boy, who I do believe is going to have a good career at Manchester United. There is no point sitting around not playing football and he’s gone to Aston Villa, who are a big, big club.

“He got injured but is back playing well again now and now he has a few big play-off games coming up.”

Solskjaer has effectively confirmed that Tuanzebe will be taken on United’s pre-season tour in which they will face Perth Glory and Leeds United in Australia, then onto the International Champions Cup where they will face Inter Milan in Singapore, Tottenham Hotspur in Shanghai before facing AC Milan in Cardiff. Tuanzebe has already been involved in three pre-season tours already.

Les Parry, United’s academy player performance manager, is tasked with keeping track of all players on loan this season has also praised the player, confirming that he was one of Villa’s best players before injury struck, coming back at the right time to make an impact again. The playoff final will be a big occasion for him as he could help his loan club earn a place in the Premier League once again, as teammate Dean Henderson has with Sheffield United. Parry said:

“He was doing ever so well when he got injured. In fact, he was one of Villa’s better players. Fortunately, it was a great time for him to come back as it was during the international break.

“It gave him time to settle back in at Villa Park before the first game so he could get up to speed again. Of course, we want all our lads to have that sort of experience, going to Wembley, as that is the sort of experience you need as you have got to get used to playing in big games.

“So the more big games the lads can play in, when they’re out on loan, the better.”

Obviously, Tuanzebe will need to impress Solskjaer and his coaching team in order to break into the United first team this summer, heading into the new season. Victor Lindelof needs a capable defensive partner and, in my opinion, Tuanzebe has the skill and determination to do that. I also feel that he’s a better defender than Phil Jones, so that gives him something to propel him forward. The only thing that may hamper his chances would be whether United signed a central defensive player this summer and who from the current squad left the club. If one comes in and two go out, Tuanzebe will have a great chance.

Axel Tuanzebe seeks more game time as he completes Aston Villa loan move

With only two full days of the transfer window left Axel Tuanzebe has completed a season-long loan move to Championship side Aston Villa where he spent half of last season’s campaign. The 20-year-old after a solid pre-season will get a second chance to show manager and Manchester United legend Steve Bruce what he can do and get some vital minutes under his belt.

Tuanzebe was one of a group of young players Mourinho had at his disposal for the US Tour as many of the senior players were still enjoying their post-World Cup holidays. The English defender played his part well overall getting many vital minutes playing alongside United’s senior defenders which can only help him and give him confidence going forward. Furthermore, the high-quality opponents chosen to play United such as Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, and Liverpool ensure that Tuanzebe tested himself against some of the best attacking players the world has to offer.

Unfortunately for the young defender, it would have been very difficult for him to cement a place in the starting eleven for this season. In his managerial tenure at United so far Mourinho in defensive areas tends to favour the reliability of experience rather than the exuberance of youth which was demonstrated last season with the persistent fullback pairing of Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young who have a combined age of 66 years old. In addition, Mourinho is always looking for constancy within his starting XIs and doesn’t like to change the personnel unless pushed due to injuries so in some respects it would have been a waste of time for him to stay at the club.

Season-long loan moves have already had great effects on some of United’s other young players in a similar position to Tuanzebe. Timothy Fosu-Mensah spent the whole of last season on loan at Premier League side Crystal Palace where the 20-year-old made 21 appearances for the Eagles. He made considerable progress under manager Roy Hodgson with his most notable performance coming against premier league champions Manchester City where Fosu-Mensah got the better of their most talented forward players in Leroy Sane in a draw which saw City drop their first points of the season.

Similarly, Andreas Pereira spent last season on loan at Spanish club side Valencia amounting 12 appearances. The season before he was on loan at Granada where he was able to get plenty of minutes with a total of 34 appearances for the Spanish side. Both players have returned to United with the hunger to be heavily involved in this seasons title challenge with both players giving very good accounts of themselves in pre-season.

A loan move for the 20-year-old may suit his needs better as young players need as much game time as possible to develop their skills and confidence in their own abilities. Tuanzebe’s last loan move with the Villans didn’t go quite according to plan as the English defender only featured in five matches after joining in January. However, with this loan move lasting a full season, it will allow him to get used to his surroundings and become comfortable with playing regular first team football as well as testing himself in arguably the country’s most physical league which will add greatly to his development.

Tuanzebe commented on his latest move telling Villa’s official website that it was a “no-brainer” to re-join the Midlands-based club and has ambitions to “reach the Premier League”. Tuanzebe becomes the fifth player to go out on loan at United as Mourinho seeks to give his young players much-needed first team football and hopefully, from United’s point of view, Tuanzebe can come back to Old Trafford next season with the experience needed to mount a challenge for a place in Mourinho’s plans.

Written by Ciaran Coyle

Why Axel Tuanzebe would benefit from another season out on loan

Over the last few seasons, the name Axel Tuanzebe has rolled off the tongue of many Manchester United fans, with great excitement and enthusiasm. Originally born in Bunia in the Republic of the Congo, before growing up in Rochdale, Tuanzebe has been with the club’s Academy from the age of eight.

The talented defender showed great potential from an early age picking up the 2015 Jimmy Murphy Young Player of Year award and captaining the U19s as a first-year scholar. Which in turn earned him a place in the U21s at the ripe age of 17, and despite having an injury-hit campaign went on to make 11 appearances for Warren Joyce’s title-winning side.

It was not long before Tuanzebe would be rewarded with a call-up to the first team and was singled out for praise by Jose Mourinho in the summer of 2016 when he first arrived at the club. With the academy graduate given a great opportunity to show the new boss would he could do first hand, in a pre-season friendly against Wigan Athletic, with Mourinho full of praise afterwards.

Following on from this Tuanzebe went on to captain the reserves, showing great leadership on and off the field and earned himself more opportunities with the first team. Getting selected as part of the travelling squad to face Hull City, in the second leg of EFL Cup semi-final. Before making his first team debut just a few days later on the 29th January 2017, in the Emirates FA Cup fourth round against Wigan Athletic. Replacing fellow academy graduate Timothy Fosu-Mensah in the 68th minute and putting in an assured performance as United secured a 4-0 victory.

With United’s team stretched due to their involvement in the Europa League, Tuanzebe’s services were required and the young defender made four appearances in the Premier League towards the end of last season, including starting big games against Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.

Tuanzebe made just three appearances for United in the season just past, starting and playing the full 90 minutes against Swansea City in the carabao cup and coming off the bench in the UEFA Champions League against CSKA Moscow and making a brief cameo away at Everton in the Premier League. Before being loaned out to championship side Aston Villa in January.

Under Steve Bruce, the young defender made five appearances with much of his spell at Villa being disrupted by injury. In the 300 minutes Tuanzebe got under his built at Villa, he managed an average of 3.2 tackles, 0.4 interceptions and 3.8 clearances, which are impressive defensive statistics for a 20-year-old.

While Tuanzebe has only managed 13 competitive first team appearances in his two seasons of first team football, the United academy graduate will have gained some great footballing knowledge and had some invaluable experiences in both training with United’s first team, and while on loan at Steve Bruce’s Villa.

Yet while Tuanzebe has the skill and mentally to succeed as a future United star, it is vital that he seeks another loan move in order to get more first team football. Doing so would be of great benefit to the young defender in his development as has been proved in the past by the likes of Jesse Lingard and Timothy Fosu-Mensah.

While playing predominantly at Centre back, Tuanzebe can play in a number of different positions and has been used at left-back, right-back and in defensive midfield for both United and Villa. So, the 20-year-old with great versatility and bags of talent will not be short of potential suitors and it has been reported that several Premier League and Championship clubs are interested in taking him on loan next season.

There has also been much speculation in the media that Aston Villa are keen to keep Tuanzebe on loan for a further season and this speculation has been fuelled even more recently by the departure of Villa’s captain John Terry.  If this where to be true then it would not be a bad thing for Tuanzebe’s development. After all, Steve Bruce is an untied legend and knows what it likes to be a defender at the highest level, so would be a great influence on Tuanzebe in his development.

Regardless of where Tuanzebe ends up next season, it’s clear he has the talent and the mindset to become a future United star and more first team football will do nothing but help him on his journey to the top of the great game.

Written by Jamie Mackinlay

Axel Tuanzebe has been given a chance at Aston Villa this season, how has he progressed?

Manchester United defender Axel Tuanzebe has been a figure that many fans of the club are impressed with and will be looking at him to rise from the ranks of the Academy and earn his place at the Old Trafford club. Jose Mourinho praised the now 20-year-old soon after be became the manager in 2016, giving him an opportunity in his first match, the pre-season friendly against Wigan Athletic. Since then, Tuanzebe has been a player who has played a small part in matches but a massive part when it comes to his education at the Theatre of Dreams.

Tuanzebe made just three appearances for United this season; 90 minutes against Swansea City in the carabao Cup, a 2-0 victory for United, 18 minutes in the 2-1 victory over CSKA Moscow in the UEFA Champions League, plus a minute in the 2-0 victory over Everton on New Year’s Day. It may not have been the best season for him, in terms of development and challenging for places in the first team but he has trained with them for half of the season, before being loaned out to Steve Bruce’s Aston Villa, who are chasing a Premier League return.

The United Academy graduate has made five appearances for Villa this season, a combined total of 300 minutes which seems to have been curtailed by injury. 409 minutes of first team action this season is good for progress and during his half-season at Villa Park, Tuanzebe will learn a vital lesson. Villa manager Bruce, a United legend, knows what is expected at United, meaning Tuanzebe is in good hands ahead of the rest of his career, which could see him in the heart of United’s defence for years to come.

During his playing time for both United and Villa this season, Tuanzebe’s stats have been impressive. Defensively, he has offered an average of 2.4 tackles, 0.4 interceptions, 2.7 clearances, and 0.3 blocks per match. His passing averages at 64.2%, which does need to improve. One of the main things is that Tuanzebe can play in a few different positions, as a right-back, a left-back, in the centre of defence and even in defensive midfield. He has played in a few of these positions this season, for both United and Villa.

Tuanzebe holds three impressive strengths, which at his age is good to see. He is great in the air, a good tackler and a good passer, normally. He does have some weaknesses, which is to be expected for a player of his age. He is not great at holding on to the ball, his concentration can be lax, and his crossing has room for improvement. Being developed by United and on loan at Villa should be good for him and Bruce could be the manager to help his potential be reached at both Villa at United. It is suggested he could even remain at the Birmingham club next season.

Playing in the Championship will help him develop more as a player, it is a tough league to play in. Villa have earned a place in the Championship play offs this season, meaning they could reach the Premier League next season, which would be even better for him. It has been reported by The Sun that Mourinho is preparing to loan the 20-year-old out again next season, which would be more beneficial for him than sitting on the sidelines at United, or even playing Premier League 2 football, in Division Two, of course. A Sun source at the club has stated:

“Axel [Tuanzebe] could stay at Aston Villa. It’s not dependent on promotion at all. The club are still undecided but that’s what they’d like him to do. We know Villa are keen on him. He is expected to go on the US pre-season tour before Jose makes his final decision over him.”

It is suggested that a few Premier League and Championship clubs are interested in Tuanzebe ahead of the new season but keeping him at Villa, under Steve Bruce, would be the best option for him. Villa, whether they achieve a Premier League place or remain in the Championship, are a good club to gain experience at and under Bruce, he will be educated about the ‘United way’, which will be a good thing. I don’t think we have heard the end of Tuanzebe, just experienced a taste of his career to come. If he develops correctly, he could be a household name at the club in the future.

Luke Shaw is full of praise for Axel Tuanzebe and rightly so…

Manchester United left-back Luke Shaw has stated that he believes Axel Tuanzebe is a player who is capable of cementing a place as a central defender at the club in the future. Shaw has been left impressed with the Academy graduate who has been a part of the first team this season. Tuanzebe was praised by manager Jose Mourinho when he took over as manager in 2016 suggesting that the player had the talent to be a part of his plans in the future, giving him his debut in a friendly against Wigan Athletic, Mourinho’s first match as United manager.

It has already been stated that Mourinho may let Tuanzebe head out on loan towards the end of the winter window with Aston Villa currently interested in the player. Tuanzebe has made four appearances for the club this season, his first a start in the Carabao Cup against Swansea City in October 2017, a match United won 2-0 – then making three substitute appearances, one in the UEFA Champions League. It is clear Mourinho rates the player, pulling him from the U23’s, where he was the captain, and putting in the first team.

It has been said by Shaw that Tuanzebe will mature into a top-class central defender, which is his favoured position, although he has played as a right-back, on the left of a three-man defence and also in midfield. Tuanzebe would be a player who would get more playing time on loan this season after being sixth choice in defence this season and when Eric Bailly is back, he will most likely be seventh choice. Shaw, speaking to the official Manchester United website, said:

“I think Axel is unbelievable. I think the talent he’s got is frightening. He’s strong, he’s quick, he’s energetic, he reads the game well, he’s a good passer of the ball, he’s got everything. 

“For me, his main position is probably central defender. I think if he nails down one place, it will be central defender. But like I said, he’s got everything and he’s still very young. 

“I look back to the game against Swansea away [in the Carabao Cup] when he came in from the cold and there would have been a few people surprised at him starting the game. But he didn’t let anyone down. I was sat on the bench and I was happy and proud for him, and also Scott [McTominay] in the same game. Both of them were terrific, especially Axel because I think Scotty had played a game before that. 

“It was Axel’s first proper game [this season] and against a good team as well. For me, he was Man of the Match and I think people then took to him, the fans, and they knew what a special talent we had. 

“We’ve not seen him that much but, hopefully, we and the fans get to see him more because I see him in training and he’s improving every day, building his confidence up even more. He’s always ready for his chance when called upon.”

Receiving praise from a teammate will mean a lot to Tuanzebe, who has bags of talent to succeed at the highest level. For Shaw to say he’s strong, quick, energetic, as well as reading the game well and being a good passer of the ball will show the player that he is doing the right thing on his rise to fame. If Mourinho does allow Tuanzebe to go out on loan and whether it is Aston Villa or another club who opts to sign him for the remainder of the season, it will give the player the time to show his abilities. Playing in the Championship, if that is where he ends up, will test him.

Since Jose Mourinho commenced his management role at United, Tuanzebe has been praised by him and a whole host of his teammates, whether they are in the first team or the reserves. The player has a great future ahead of him and instead of sitting on the sidelines during matches he will benefit more playing in a first team environment. Tuanzebe training with the first team can only do so much for his development. It is how he performs on the pitch which suggests whether he is at the level he needs to be. I do hope he will get the loan move which will help him at this time.

Jose Mourinho will allow Axel Tuanzebe to leave Manchester United on loan this month

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has confirmed that he will allow Academy graduate Axel Tuanzebe to leave the club on loan this month. Tuanzebe, 20, is a promising member of United’s first team but he is not getting the matches to aid his development at the club. United have Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Chris Smalling and Daley Blind as the experienced members of the central defence at the club and currently, Bailly is recovering from injury, meaning Tuanzebe is sixth choice in the squad, although he has played out of position but not regularly.

Championship side Aston Villa, managed by former United defender Steve Bruce, have shown an interest in Tuanzebe this month and he could be the third member of the reserves to be loaned out with James Wilson at Sheffield United and Demetri Mitchell heading to Scottish club Hearts. In the past few days, Devonte Redmond (Scunthorpe United) and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson (Leeds United) have both returned to the club from loan spells during the first half of the season.

Tuanzebe has made just three appearances for United this season, starting in the 2-0 victory over Swansea City in the Carabao Cup in October and coming on as a substitute twice in the 2-1 victory over CSKA Moscow and the 2-0 victory over Everton on New Year’s Day. Tuanzebe is a player who will need to play matches in order to develop. Mourinho will know this, as will the player himself. A loan spell could be great for the player, especially in the Championship. Mourinho spoke to the official Manchester United website about Tuanzebe, saying:

“I have a squad of 22 players and I want to keep the squad of 22 players. Maybe, just because I want to make the kid a good player and I’m not giving him the chances the chances I am giving to Scott McTominay, Axel Tuanzebe [could go out on loan] because he plays in a position where I have so many players.

“Today [Monday] on the bench I had Marcos Rojo and Lindelof and Bailly is still in recovery so I’m not giving the chances to Axel. So Axel is probably the only one I can leave the open door for him to go and play [elsewhere] because I believe he is a really good talent, and he needs to go and play.

“But apart from that, we need the numbers we have because we are playing in the Champions League, FA Cup and Premier League. I have to keep the number of players we have.”

Aston Villa currently sit in fourth place in the Championship, four points clear of a play-off place after 27 matches. Bruce’s side will be looking to earn that play-off place or even earn an automatic promotion place this season which would see them promoted back to the Premier League next season. If Tuanzebe was part of a team who are looking to return to the top-level, not only can he assist them in doing that, but the development from such a thing would benefit him and United.

Now that Mourinho has in effect confirmed that Tuanzebe will be allowed to leave the Old Trafford club this month, albeit on loan, Villa may find themselves with some competition for the 20-year-old who is highly rated at the Theatre of Dreams. Villa have John Terry and James Chester as their first choice defensive partnership and have limited cover aside of them. Then there is the fact that Tuanzebe can play at right-back or even a midfield role, so the options from such a deal would be beneficial to the player and Villa, or whoever loaned him.

Axel Tuanzebe on his learning curve, Manchester United’s ‘brotherhood spirit’ and Romelu Lukaku’s magnificence

Manchester United defender Axel Tuanzebe has talked to the official Manchester United website about his progress at the Old Trafford club. The 19=year-old has suggested that his football style has become much better, stating that his involvement within the first team is one of the reasons for this. Tuanzebe has been training with the first team since last season, playing little part in the U23’s, with manager Jose Mourinho aiming to get him up to speed in his squad this season.

Earlier in the summer, Tuanzebe travelled to the United States of America with the first team but suffered a minor back injury at the start of the season, keeping him out of action for short period of time. The player was involved in the UEFA Champions League squad which travelled to Moscow last week, beating CSKA Moscow 4-1, but he did not play a part in the match. This season, the player could find himself being trusted more by the manager, especially with Marcos Rojo still on the sidelines and Phil Jones possibly joining him. Talking about his learning curve, Tuanzebe said:

“I’d say I’ve matured and my football style has matured. I think I make better decisions now, you learn about prioritising the team more rather than playing for yourself. That’s a massive part of getting into the team because everything you do is about trying to benefit the team.

“I’ve been with the first team now for more than half a season and you just keep learning. There is no point where you stop learning or you’ve seen enough, it’s always a continuous journey. The Moscow trip was a great experience and a different type of preparation, we were there for longer and we trained there, so you pick up little things.”

Tuanzebe has not played for United this season, but with injuries and rotation, he could be about to feature in the coming month with United playing six matches in all competition, four away from home. The 19-year-old is a prospect and Mourinho knows that. The Portuguese manager previously spoke about him after making his first appearance under him at the start of last season in a friendly against Wigan Athletic. The manager suggested he was one for the future and ten minutes as enough to see his potential.

The player has been watching his teammates thrive this season, Romelu Lukaku being the player he reserves a high-praise for. Tuanzebe talked about United’s start to the season, which has been the best thing to come from the last four years of action. He then talked about the bond within the team and the fact Manchester United will be a team to look out for this season. Tuanzebe knows that he will be given a chance if he continues to impress Mourinho, which is something he will keep doing. Concluding, Tuanzebe said:

“Since the start of the season, all the performances have been very good. It’s been built up from pre-season and there is kind of a brotherhood spirit in the team and pushing on during the season I think we’ll be one team to watch out for.

“Everyone is happy. The manager has rotated the squad and had players in and out and we’ve been getting great results.

“For us as a team, Romelu [Lukaku] has been magnificent. He’s been the standout guy as the big man up top. He’s settled in very well. He can speak about seven languages so he can interact with everyone in the squad. He’s been a big inspiration to the team and a good role model. He’s a really good guy and off the pitch, he talks to everyone and I think that’s a great attribute to have.”

Axel Tuanzebe will be a great player for United, given the chance to become that. Mourinho has been touted as a manager who is not an advocate for youth, but in the last year, more young players have played for Mourinho’s side than other teams. The rise of Marcus Rashford and the continuation of that under the Portuguese manager shows just that. Jose Mourinho seems to have adopted a saying from the past; “if they are good enough, they are old enough”. This season alone, Tuanzebe, Scott McTominay and Demetri Mitchell have all been given the chance to show their class, both the former being around the first team now, Mitchell seemingly not that far off. Tuanzebe has the world at his feet, the guidance of his teammates and his manager and all to achieve in this industry.

copyright: JW