Manchester United defender Axel Tuanzebe hopes to turn his loan move to Aston Villa permanent in the near future, having accepted that his chances of first-team football at Old Trafford are effectively over.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer brought in Raphael Varane from Real Madrid to play alongside Harry Maguire at the heart of the team’s defence, with Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly both vying for minutes as well.
Tuanzebe’s minutes were limited even before Varane’s arrival – he started just nine Premier League games last season – and with opportunities looking even scarcer this year, the decision was made to send the 23-year-old on loan to Villa for the third time in his career.
According to The Sun, Tuanzebe is ready to call time on his United career, having grown tired of waiting for first-team opportunities that clearly are not coming anytime soon.
Instead, he hopes to seal a permanent move to Villa Park, where he has already made four appearances this season, and continue his development under Dean Smith.
Before moving to Villa, Tuanzebe put pen to paper on a new two-year contract which also includes an option for a third, but he hopes that will not stand in the way of a permanent switch to Villa Park.
United would likely prefer to keep the homegrown youngster, who has captained the team at both youth and senior level, but he is quite clearly down the pecking order and the chance to cash in on him next summer may be too good to turn down.
As well as Tuanzebe, United will soon have to make a decision on the future of Phil Jones, who is close to re-joining the squad after 20 months out with a nasty knee injury.
Jones recently managed 90 minutes in an Under-23 defeat to Arsenal and is expected to take up a role as emergency cover for the senior side when fully fit, but his contract has just two years left to run and he could be sold next summer as well.