By Graham Hill
VILLA’S hopes of re-signing Axel Tuanzebe on loan from Manchester United look slim after the player was named in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s striating line up for their friendly against Perth in Australia.
Even with Villa boss Dean Smith signing a new central defender in Bjorn Engels, a move for Tuanzebe has not been ruled out.
But the 21 year old appears to have targeted breaking through into the first team at Old Trafford.
His words over the weekend look to be hinting at a season of trying to impress under Solskjaer rather than being a fringe player at United.
Tuanzebe spent a season and a half on loan at Villa Park and was a key figure in the late season play-off push that took Dean Smith’s side into the Premier League.
But the signing of a new three year deal at Old Trafford ended any realistic hopes Villa had of making his loan deal permanent.
And unless Solskjaer moves for a central defender between now and the start of the season, then Tuanzebe will feel he has a real chance to make his mark with Solskjaer.
Tuanzebe’s words to MUTV offered no suggestions of a Villa return – he said: “It’s always a great opportunity, we’ve had a good two weeks of training.
“Manchester has always been my home so to be among the lads again is great, I want to push on and show everyone I’m ready for it.
“Every pre-season is the same for every player to demonstrate they’re ready, I’ve worked hard in the off season to be in this position now.”