Manchester United defender Axel Tuanzebe is close to joining Aston Villa on loan for the season.
Tuanzebe is also due to sign a new contract with the Red Devils, keeping him at the club until 2023 whilst having an option to extend it a further year.
The 23-year-old enjoyed two decent loan spells with Villa between 2018 and 2019 and Dean Smith is clearly keen to bring him back to Villa Park for the third time.
And according to The Athletic, the Villans have beaten Newcastle United to the signing of the United man.
Tuanzebe will likely provide cover for Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa in the centre of defence, whilst possessing the ability to fill in at right-back if need be.
Axel Tuanzebe close to season-long loan to Aston Villa. Expected to go through once he signs extra year at #MUFC.
— Laurie Whitwell (@lauriewhitwell) August 4, 2021
He has struggled for regular game time at Old Trafford in recent years, and the signing of Raphael Varane has put his chances of playing into further doubt.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted Tuanzebe was likely to leave on loan, while also commenting on the return of Phil Jones.
He said: “I can see of course with Raphael looking like everything is sorted there and we’ve made that deal, I can see Axel going out.
“That’s because I’ve got Raphael, Maguire, Lindelof, Eric Bailly and Phil Jones is coming back in. He’s due to start training over the weekend when we’ve got everyone in on Monday.
“That’s a big plus for him. I’ve had similar troubles in my career, he’s such a professional, good lad and it’s great to see him ready to train again.
“So hopefully he can, first of all, train with us and then get game time soon. If he can play in the Under-23s to start with or the reserves or we can arrange a behind-closed-doors game for him because I know exactly the feeling after being out for so long.
“You just want to feel your way in and he’s always served the club and it was time for him to look after himself and his own health, but now he’s ready to train with us.”
Tuanzebe impressed when given the opportunity last season. Solskjaer hailed his “tremendous” performance against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.
The United boss 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.”