Manchester United defender Axel Tuanzebe is being targeted by Stoke City as a replacement for Australian defender Harry Souttar, who nears a move to Leicester City on transfer deadline day.
The Telegraph’s Mike McGrath reports the Potters’ interest in Tuanzebe, who was brought up in Rochdale and went on to captain United against Rochdale in the League Cup.
Tuanzebe, 25, hasn’t featured for the Red Devils since the Europa League final in 2021, which they lost to Villarreal.
The central defender has made 37 appearances for the club and has struggled with injury in recent times.
Stoke City Seek Manchester United Defender Axel Tuanzebe as Harry Souttar Replacement
Stoke trying for a deal to sign Axel Tuanzebe from #MUFC as Harry Souttar puts the finishing touches to his £15m move to Leicester #SCFC #LCFC
— Mike McGrath (@mcgrathmike) January 31, 2023
Tuanzebe Proven at Championship Level
Tuanzebe is yet to claim a serious place in Manchester United’s defence under any manager but has proven his ability in defence. From being a starter for Aston Villa in the Championship to dealing with the likes of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for United, Tuanzebe’s talent is clear.
Whether he can display the latter on a consistent basis is another matter though, and a move to Stoke City would likely see the fit-again defender showcase his skills more.
Tuanzebe had three loans with Villa – two of which were in the Championship – and proved popular with the Villains before Steven Gerrard’s torrid reign as manager.
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Tuanzebe has 30 Championship appearances to his name across two spells in the Midlands and then three in the play-offs as he helped guide Aston Villa back to the Premier League.
His third stint at Villa Park didn’t perhaps go as planned and was cut short by the defender’s desire to get out and join Napoli in Serie A. Tuanzebe had struggled for a place following the-then appointment of Steven Gerrard, replacing Dean Smith, who had signed him.
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Tuanzebe made just two appearances for Napoli, seemingly signed as a substitute option and struggling with injury for a couple of months.
Stoke City sit 18th in the Championship and are no doubt looking to improve on that place and one day revisit their Premier League heights.