Manchester United defender Tuanzebe returns to Aston Villa for second loan spell

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Axel Tuanzebe Man Utd 2021-22Getty Images

Manchester United defender Axel Tuanzebe has returned to Aston Villa for a second loan spell.

Tuanzebe helped Villa clinch promotion to the Premier League in his first stint at the club in 2018-19, and has now rejoined Dean Smith's ranks ahead of their third successive campaign back in the top-flight.

The 23-year-old fell behind the likes of Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly in the squad pecking order at United last term, but will now have the chance to take in more regular minutes at Villa Park.

What's been said?

The Red Devils have confirmed Tuanzebe's departure in an official statement while also revealing that the centre-back has penned fresh terms at Old Trafford through to 2023, with the option of the extra year included in the final agreement.

"Axel Tuanzebe will spend the 2021-22 campaign on loan at Aston Villa after agreeing a season-long move to the Premier League club," the club's press release reads.

"The 23-year-old has also signed a new contract at Manchester United, lasting until June 2023 with the option of an additional year's extension.

"Having endured a difficult campaign last time out due to a couple of injuries, the highly-rated centre-back will use this loan as a vital opportunity to assert himself and make an impression.

"Axel will return to the United set-up at the end of the 2021-22 season."

Solskjaer on Tuanzebe

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gave a clear indication that Tuanzebe could leave on a temporary basis after the club announced the impending arrival of Raphael Varane from Real Madrid last month.

Varane will complete an initial £34 million ($47m) move to Old Trafford before the new season kicks off, and the World Cup winner is expected to slot straight in at centre-half alongside club captain Maguire.

"Of course, with Raphael coming in, I can see Axel going out," Solskjaer said.

The bigger picture

Tuanzebe has only appeared in 37 games across all competitions for the Red Devils since graduating to the senior squad back in 2015, having dealt with his fair share of setbacks with injuries.

The opportunity to play more frequently with a Villa side being tipped to challenge for European qualification could do wonders for his development, and United supporters will hope that he can return to Old Trafford next summer a better all-around player and begin to fulfil his considerable potential.

Tuanzebe is the fifth signing of the summer window for the Lions, who have also brought in Ashley Young, Emiliano Buendia, Leon Bailey and Danny Ings after receiving a £100m ($139m) windfall from Jack Grealish's British record move to Manchester City.

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