By Graham Hill
OLE Gunnar Solskjaer has poured more cold water on a possible return to Villa for defender Axel Tuanzebe.
The Norewegian is currently rebuilding his United squad and admits he has been impressed with Tuanzebe, 21.
Solskjaer says Tuanzebe has a ‘great chance’ of staying at Old Trafford.
Villa have been keeping a close eye on Tuanzebe’s working relationship with the United boss and are ready to take him back if the opportunity arises.
United are also set to sign England defender Harry Maguire from Leicester City which could push Tuanzebe further down the pecking order.
But Solskjaer says he is happy with Tuanzebe’s displays so far.
The United boss told reporters: “Axel’s got a great chance of staying here and playing.
”He had a great season last year, albeit a stop-start season with injuries, but he’s really proven that he’s capable of playing at this level.
“He got promoted with Aston Villa and he’s come back very strong and focused. He did well in the first game here in Perth, so he’s one of the young exciting players I can’t wait to see more of.”
Tuanzebe impressed on loan last season as Villa staged a late bid for the play-offs and sealed promotion at Wembley.
Smith would like to pair him up with Tyrone Mings at the heart of Villa’s defence next season, but that now seems unlikely with Solskjaer prepared to give the player his chance.