Aston Villa could strike gold this summer by signing Manchester United defender Axel Tuanzebe.
Dean Smith’s side have been one of the better defensive sides in the Premier League this season, with just 38 goals conceded in their 33 games – in fact, only four other sides have let in less.
However, according to Football Insider, Villa are keen on reinforcing the centre of defence even further, with Smith plotting a reunion with Tuanzebe this summer.
The duo worked together during Villa’s time in the Championship, and the report claims that Tuanzebe fits the kind of profile of player the club are looking to sign.
Not many people can put down stopping Kylian Mbappe on their CV, but Tuanzebe did exactly that earlier this season when Manchester United beat PSG 2-1 in the group stages of the Champions League at the Parc des Princes.
As per Sofascore, Tuanzebe made a game-high seven clearances, while he won three out of his five duels, including both that he contested in the air – writing in his post-match player ratings, The Manchester Evening News’ Samuel Luckhurst gave him a nine, saying: “Will have grown a foot taller after he challenged Mbappe in a tight duel inside the area. Fantastic return on his first appearance in 10 months.”
And, speaking after the game, United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was quick to wax lyrical over the United academy product and how he nullified the pace of Mbappe brilliantly.
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.”
If Villa are looking for a young, English centre-back with top-level European experience, then they should look no further than the £50k-a-week earning Tuanzebe this summer.