Napoli have reached out to Manchester United in the hope of taking over Axel Tuanzebe’s loan contract with Aston Villa.
The 24-year-old is on a season-long loan at Villa Park but has not played as much as he would have liked. He began the season as a regular starter but has seen just eight minutes of Premier League action across Villa’s last seven games following the arrival of Steven Gerrard.
With Tuanzebe’s season quickly going downhill, Gianluca Di Marzio notes that Napoli are keen to give him a fresh start.
Napoli have been in touch with United and Tuanzebe’s camp to see whether taking over his loan contract would be a possibility, with the Partenopei keen to agree to an option to buy the 24-year-old that is not present in his current Villa deal.
As of yet, there is no mention of United’s response. Unless they have a clause in Tuanzebe’s contract allowing them to recall him, Villa would have to agree to offload the defender as well.
Napoli find themselves in somewhat of a crisis at centre-back. Kalidou Koulibaly is out with a thigh injury and is likely to jet off to the African Cup of Nations upon his return next month, while Kostas Manolas is leaving to join Olympiacos once the transfer window opens.
That will leave Luciano Spalletti’s title-chasers with just two recognised centre-backs – Amir Rrahmani and Juan Jesus, the latter of whom is seen largely as an emergency backup.
It is suggested that Napoli want Tuanzebe to fill in alongside Rrahmani while Koulibaly is away with Senegal, before competing with the Kosovo international later in the campaign.
Tuanzebe remains under contract at United until the summer of 2023, but he is understood to be keen to leave Old Trafford at the end of the current campaign in search of regular first-team football.
A graduate of United’s famous academy, Tuanzebe has managed just 37 appearances for the club across his five seasons as a senior player.
He is currently on his third loan spell with Villa but is yet to match the success of his previous tenures at the club.