Aston Villa are reportedly lining up a move for Manchester United defender Axel Tuanzebe in the upcoming summer transfer window.

According to Football Insider, Aston Villa are determined to re-sign Axel Tuanzebe from Manchester United as Dean Smith grows desperate to bolster his defensive options for the new season. It appears the club is preparing for the departure of Bjorn Engels, who has fallen down the pecking order and could be on the verge of an exit from Villa Park in the summer.

As a result, the Villans have now set their sights back on Tuanzebe, who spent 18 months on loan at Villa Park a couple of years ago. He was, in fact, a critical figure in the club’s success in the Championship during the 2018/19 campaign, helping them secure direct promotion to the top-flight.

The youngster was linked with a permanent move to Villa Park soon after their promotion, but a transfer did not materialise as the defender remained at Old Trafford in search of a breakthrough at United.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 27: Mason Bennett of Derby County battles for possession with Axel Tuanzebe of Aston Villa during the Sky Bet Championship Play-off Final match between Aston Villa and Derby County at Wembley Stadium on May 27, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Tuanzebe enjoyed a successful loan spell with Aston Villa in 2018/19. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Unfortunately, the decision has not paid off for the centre-back, who has struggled with a lack of game-time under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. He is yet to muster over 200 minutes of league football this season and it was pretty much the same story last term, with Tuanzebe falling behind the likes of Eric Bailly, Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire in the pecking order.

Life at Old Trafford could get even tougher for Tuanzebe, as Manchester United are reportedly on the lookout for a new centre-back. It appears Solskjaer is frustrated with Lindelof’s inconsistent performances while he does not trust his other options.

One of the names linked with a move for Man United this summer is Liverpool target Pau Torres. His potential arrival in Manchester could see Tuanzebe finding himself on the chopping block and that is where a return to Aston Villa could make sense for the young defender next season.

The 23-year-old has worked with Dean Smith before and should not find it difficult to settle in. Although he might have to compete with the established defensive duo of Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa for a place in the starting eleven, he is certain to receive more game-time at Villa Park.

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The move could make sense even for Manchester United, knowing they can demand a relatively decent fee for Tuanzebe, who is still only 23 with substantial potential. It should thus serve as a major financial boost for the club as they look to fund top targets like Jadon Sancho in the upcoming transfer window.

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