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Aston Villa targeting defender with Axel Tuanzebe set to exit

Villa will turn their attentions to recruiting another centre-back this month with Axel Tuanzebe expected to leave for Napoli.

Axel Tuanzebe of Aston Villa (AMA)
Axel Tuanzebe of Aston Villa (AMA)

Boss Steven Gerrard yesterday admitted he was unsure about the Manchester United loanee’s short-term future.

But the expectation last night was that Tuanzebe will be recalled by his parent club, before being sent out to Italy with the aim of getting more playing time.

The 24-year-old, who joined on a season-long deal in the summer, has played just eight minutes since Gerrard replaced Dean Smith in the dugout and was absent from the squad for yesterday’s 2-1 defeat at Brentford.

Despite Gerrard insisting he wanted Tuanzebe to remain for the remainder of the season, the defender is thought to have been keen on a move to Serie A and discussions between United and Napoli were ongoing over the weekend.

Liverpool’s Joe Gomez is thought to be among Villa’s targets as they now seek reinforcement at the back. Adding cover in the full-back areas is also a key January objective.

“I am unsure and I am unclear,” said Gerrard, when asked about Tuanzebe’s future yesterday. “I can tell you what I would like to happen and I wish to happen, which is to keep the player until the end of the season at least. He has had a couple of loans here and is part of the family and a good professional. But this is totally out of our hands. It is in the hands of Axel, Manchester United and his representation.”

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