Aston Villa are eyeing a summer transfer move for Manchester United defender Axel Tuanzebe.
The £7.2m-rated ace is a familiar name at Villa Park, having played under Dean Smith during their time together in the Championship, and it appears that the manager is keen on enjoying a reunion with the centre-back this summer.
According to Football Insider, Villa are plotting a summer swoop for Tuanzebe as they look to bring in a new defender to replace Bjorn Engels, who looks set to depart the Premier League club.
The report added that Tuanzebe has been made one of Villa’s top targets and that “he fits the profile the recruitment team are seeking of a proven defender with Premier League experience who also has the potential to improve”.
Under Smith, Tuanzebe played 19 times for Villa as they sought to earn promotion from the Championship, and his impressive displays caught the eye of the Villa boss, who said at the time: “He is a terrific guy. He’s got a terrific attitude, that is the thing which will stand him in good stead with his career. I can’t speak highly enough of him.”
Smith added: “He has got great pace, he is a big prospect. I have known of him anyway playing through the junior ranks at England and watching his progression through that, and he looks a good player.”
While he hasn’t had much of a look-in at United this season – he’s only played 15 times for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side – one of those games came in a superb 2-1 win over PSG in the Champions League, with the manager reserving special praise for the youngster that night.
He said: “Axel’s a tremendous defender, a great leader. He’s come through the academy and we’ve known for years that he’s going to be a top player for us and he’s got the character and the attitude that a Man United player should have. Sometimes you’ll get in a foot race with Mbappe and you have to run with him and we know Axel’s qualities, he’s a top defender.”
It’s no surprise, then, that Johan Lange is eyeing up a summer swoop for Tuanzebe.