Following the World Cup, as well as recent injuries and illness, Erik Ten Hag have been forced to reinvent Man United’s backline.
The Red Devils are in fine form, and following three consecutive league wins, can now safely be considered title contenders.
Despite their impressive run though, Ten Hag has had to deal with multiple squad selection problems, including who to play at centre-back following Lisandro Martinez’s delayed return to England following Argentina’s World Cup win, and Harry Maguire’s problems with illness.
Instructing full-back Luke Shaw to play on the left side of a centre-back pairing, although the Englishman has done incredibly well, it is clear his repositioning is not a permanent solution, so Ten Hag will probably feel relieved that he has another defender among his options. Axel Tuanzebe has recently returned to the club following a loan spell with Napoli in Serie A.
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However, with the 25-year-old set to be out of contract with the Red Devils in just six months’ time, it goes without saying that his Old Trafford future remains uncertain, and according to agent Jon Smith, the Bunia-born centre-back could be set for another loan move – this time to a Championship club.
“Axel Tuabzebe is worth paying attention to in this window,” Smith said in an exclusive interview.
“He’s just returned to Man United from his loan in Italy and he’s on the right path to regaining full fitness. I know he’s back in training and being put through his paces, so it’s just a case of whether or not Erik Ten Hag fancies him for a first-team place, or if he’d prefer to see him go out on loan again.
“Of course, the player himself will have to keep proving his fitness, but there are several clubs interested – mostly from the Championship. Watford are one side who are keen though.”
Since being promoted to United’s senior first team back in 2017, Tuanzebe, who has one international cap to his name, has gone on to feature in 37 matches, in all competitions, with his most notable performance coming against PSG during the 2020 Champions League.