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Official: Manchester United complete deal for 20-year-old defender

Axel Tuanzebe hasn't played since December
Axel Tuanzebe hasn't played since December
Axel Tuanzebe

Manchester United defender Axel Tuanzebe has completed his move to Steve Bruce’s Aston Villa on loan until the end of the season, the club has officially confirmed.

The 20-year-old versatile defender had made just three appearances for Manchester United this season after making a breakthrough into the first-team towards the end of the previous season. This season, Tuanzebe played full 90 minutes in United’s win over Swansea in the Carabao Cup and also made a substitute appearance in the UEFA Champions League against CSKA Moscow before making a Premier League cameo against Everton on New Year’s Day.

The towering defender travelled with the first-team squad to Dubai for the warm weather training camp and was expected to be given more playing time, just like his fellow compatriot Scott McTominay. Furthermore, joining Aston Villa for the remainder of the 2017/18 season, Tuanzebe will reunite with his teammate Sam Johnstone, who is on loan at Villa as well, and former Manchester United defender James Chester.

Manchester United legend Steve Bruce – now Aston Villa manager – was on the lookout for a potential replacement of Ritchie De Laet, who recently joined his former club Royal Antwerp on loan until July.

Since Bailly was injured, Mourinho was waiting to make a decision on Tuanzebe. The Ivory Coast international underwent an ankle surgery and hasn’t featured for the club since November. As things stand right now, it is expected that the defender is on the course to make an early comeback to face Sevilla in the Champions League and this has allowed Mourinho to sanction Tuanzebe’s move to Aston Villa.

After completing his move, the 20-year-old defender told Villa’s official website,

“I am delighted to be here. It’s an exciting time at this football club and everyone is pushing for promotion – that’s the big aim, you can feel that here. I am determined to help this club achieve its goal.”

Mourinho, on the other hand, obviously rates Tuanzebe and speaking to Manchester United’s official website, Mourinho admitted that he has only sanctioned the move because the defender would get some regular first-team action with Villa, something which he hasn’t been getting at Manchester United.

“Tuanzebe is a very good player that is not having lots of possibilities to play here,” Mourinho said recently. “But he’s our player and he will be our player – no chance we give up on such a talented boy. He is a player that we like very much.”

We wish Axel Tuanzebe the best as he moves away from Old Trafford to prove a point to his manager.

Written by Patrick Rees

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