Among transfer rumours and several reports of Manchester United being interested in almost every quality defender in the world, we were forgetting something. As it turns out, Manchester United DO have two young defenders filled with upside on the squad. They are Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Axel Tuanzebe. However, it seems only one of them will be part of the first-team squad for the 2018-19 campaign.
This Monday it was confirmed that Aston Villa acquired Tuanzebe on loan for the entire upcoming season. It will be Tuanzebe’s second loan spell at Villa since he already spent time with the club last season, but that stint was quite limited due to injuries.
Tuanzebe was part of United’s pre-season tour in the USA so he gets consideration from Jose Mourinho. Just ask Daley Blind, who was not even included on that squad since he was set to leave the side. Mourinho apparently wanted to see what he had in Tuanzebe, who made his first-team debut in 2017, and ultimately made the decision to send him out on loan. Could anyone be against that idea?
His departure was the right move for both him and Manchester United
Sure, Tuanzebe would have added a lot of depth to the squad this season due to his versatility. He can play at centre-back, right-back and defensive midfield, but all those positions are well equipped. At best, he would have been the fifth-best or sixth-best alternative at CB, the third-best at RB, and would have been buried in the midfield depth chart. Put it in another words, and his playing time would have been scarce – at best!
For what is worth, Tuanzebe is quite happy to return to Aston Villa. His words evidenced that in an interview with the club’s official website.
“It’s great to be back. This is a big, big club and to represent it again is a big honour for me. It made perfect sense for me to return for the season ahead. I know my way around the place now and owe a lot to the great people who’ve really looked after me. It was a no-brainer and now the ambition remains the same as last season – to reach the Premier League. I believe the squad we have here are more than capable of achieving it and playing at that level,” he said.
Now it remains to be seen whether he will have enough playing time or not. But one thing is certain. Tuanzebe should flourish with consistent playing time and this move comes at a perfect time for him. If he thrives playing for Villa, then he could be one step closer to featuring in the first-team sooner than later. And that did not look like a suitable scenario had he stayed at Old Trafford.