Manchester United defender Axel Tuanzebe to finish season on loan at Napoli
Tuanzebe destined for Napoli
Manchester United center-back Axel Tuanzebe is set to finish out his 2021-22 season not in England with Aston Villa but in Italy at Serie A outfit SSC Napoli according to the latest reports.
As mentioned by the ever-reliable Fabrizio Romano, the Man United academy graduate will complete his loan move today with United set to receive a €500k (£420k) loan fee in the process.
Done deal and confirmed. Napoli have reached a verbal agreement with Man United for Axel Tuanzebe: loan until June, €500k loan fee. Here we go soon! 🔴🤝 #Napoli
Tuanzebe leaves #AVFC. The agreement will not include any buy option, as @DiMarzio reports – it’s simple loan. https://t.co/yhhea9YzYP
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) January 1, 2022
Citing Gianluca DiMarzio, Romano also stated that the deal for Tuanzebe – whose original loan spell with Premier League outfit Aston Villa is set to come to an end – will not include a purchase option despite the former England youth international appearing just fourteen times for United in the last five seasons since breaking into the first-team back in 2016.
Tuanzebe was one of just four center-backs on the books at Villa Park this season along with Tyrone Mings, Ezri Konsa, and Kortney House but only managed a shade over 500-minutes of Premier League action across nine appearances despite boss Steven Gerrard recently stating that Tuanzebe was valued by the club who could see the possibility of a future permanent deal.
Aston Villa players remain targeted
Steven Gerrard has done a credible job since taking over for Dean Smith at Aston Villa after the Villains have pushed their way to a mid-table position (12th) for the beginning of 2022.
But Gerrard could well be made to lose further first-team options at Villa Park irrespective of Axel Tuanzebe having his spell cut short and shipped to the south of Italy.
Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal is currently tracking two Villa assets in key striker Ollie Watkins and holding midfielder Douglas Luiz.
Watkins is part of a four-man striker shortlist at Arsenal as the Gunners plan for life without a cadre of their current forward crop next season, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang out of favor while Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah currently set to leave on free deals in the summer.
The Gunners are also in the market for a midfielder especially given AFCON prizing away both Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny away from first-team duties for up to a month if both Ghana and Egypt (two of the tournament’s heavy favorites) make deep runs in Cameroon over the last four weeks.
Luiz is said to fit the bill and would also fill the void that is expected to come by the potential departure of Ainsley Maitland-Niles, while there is no guarantee that Elneny will remain at Arsenal beyond the current season.