Newcastle United have stepped up their pursuit for Manchester United outcast Axel Tuanzebe following the transfer news of Raphael Varane’s imminent arrival.
According to the reports in the Telegraph, Steve Bruce is desperately trying to push the club hierarchy to make a move for Manchester United defender Axel Tuanzebe after Joe Willock transfer frustrations.
Breaking the headlines is the news that Man United have secured the services of Real Madrid star Raphael Varane in a deal believed to be around €50m. The negotiations are in their advanced stages, and the move is anticipated to be completed by the end of this week itself.
Varane’s anticipated arrival clears the door for Tuanzebe to depart Man United on a season-long loan to get more regular minutes under his belt, with Newcastle leading the pack.
The 23-year-old Englishman has already conveyed Solskjaer discern that he’s unhappy with the lack of game time he’s currently getting at United, and it’s crucial for him to get regular playing time elsewhere.
Tuanzebe is quick, athletic, and a superb 1v1 defender who’s never afraid of making crunch tackles inside his own box. His excellent recovery pace makes him hard to get past.
He’s got the awareness and positional sense. Also, he’s very decent at progressing the ball from the back often skips past the first marker easily with his pace and dribbling to open up spaces for attacking players to exploit.
He’s very versatile, can play as a capable full-back, is underrated with the ball at his feet, he’s comfortable playing out from the back, and his pacy recoveries provide the backline with an added cover. He has a similar prototype to his fellow centre-half Eric Bailly.
The only significant flaw to his game is his inability to deal with set-piece situations regularly. Despite standing at 6’1″, he gets easily beaten in the air. However, if you pair him with an aerially dominant defender like Jamaal Lascelles, then it’s a perfect centre-back partnership.
Bruce knows the highly-rated defender from his managerial stint at Aston Villa, where Tuanzebe endured a successful loan spell and hopes his good connections with Manchester United’s Backroom staff would help him sway the “Athletic” defender to the Tyneside.
The Magpies are scouting the market for a young, athletic and ball-playing centre-half. They have earlier been linked with Fulham’s Tosin Adarabioyo and Celtic’s Kristoff Ajer( who has now moved to Brentford instead in a £13.5m deal) but were priced out of both transfers.
Tuanzebe ticks most of the boxes and also fits the bill as they don’t need to shell out a big fee to get him on a season-long loan. The Magpies can even get an option to buy clause if they negotiate smartly as his Man United contract is running out on Jun 30, 2023, if the Red Devils activate the option to extend a further year.
If Newcastle are able to get Tuanzebe, then it should be considered as a fairly smart piece of business and would be a welcome addition to their ageing and injury-prone backline.