Presenter Joe Thomlinson has stated that he was ‘surprised’ Axel Tuanzebe joined Aston Villa on loan even though he wouldn’t be a guaranteed starter for the club.
With first-team opportunities seemingly limited at Manchester United – he had just nine Premier League appearances last season – Tuanzebe decided to leave the Red Devils for the short term and seek out more minutes at another club.
Ultimately, it was the Villans who acquired the services of the 23-year-old, as they signed him on loan for the season.
However, while talking on the Football Daily YouTube channel, Thomlinson explained why he was confused by the move, which he referred to as ‘odd’.
He said: “The Tuanzebe one’s an interesting one, to be honest with you. Like, the £5m loan fee – obviously he comes in as a backup option – Tyrone Mings has struggled recently in my opinion, towards the back-end of last season; at the start of this season, he’s looked a little bit shaky.
“So Tuanzebe’s obviously come in to put pressure on him. But if you’re Axel Tuanzebe, I’m surprised he’s not going to get guaranteed starts in the Premier League at this stage.
“Like, I don’t think he’s a guaranteed starter in that Villa central-defensive pairing. So that’s a bit of an odd one.”
TIF Thoughts on Axel Tuanzebe and Aston Villa…
Last season, Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa were Dean Smith’s preferred pair at the heart of his defence. And while Tuanzebe can also play right-back, he would also face stiff competition in that position – with Matty Cash and even Ashley Young both decent options for that particular role.
Tuanzebe did play for the Villans back in 2019, helping the club secure promotion back into the Premier League. So, perhaps that is why he decided to go back to the team despite the strong competition for a starting berth.
Regardless of all that, the 23-year-old loanee has already managed three appearances at his new club, which suggests he may well get the chance to impress this season.