Napoli have contacted Manchester United about a deal for centre-back Axel Tuanzebe, according to reliable sources in Italy.
Tuanzebe is currently on loan at Aston Villa but is not a regular in the starting XI and would have hoped for more game time.
Meanwhile, Napoli are looking for cover in the position after losing Kostas Manolas to Olympiakos and with Kalidou Koulibaly injured and also expected to play in the African Cup of Nations.
‘Napoli are in contact with Manchester United through intermediaries to discuss potential loan fee and buy option for Axel Tuanzebe. The centre back is appreciated but price tag will be key to proceed in negotiations’, transfer guru Fabrizio Romano tweeted this morning.
Napoli are in contact with Manchester United through intermediaries to discuss potential loan fee and buy option for Axel Tuanzebe. The centre back is appreciated but price tag will be key to proceed in negotiations. 🔵 #MUFC #Napoli
Aston Villa are waiting – nothing agreed yet.
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) December 30, 2021
Romano’s information corroborates claims by another leading specialist, Gianluca Di Marzio, who claimed yesterday evening that ‘Aurelio De Laurentiis’ club is interested in the player and has started contact with the Red Devils to understand if there is the possibility of switching from one loan to another.
‘Napoli, in fact, is waiting to see if they can take him on loan with the right of redemption.’
For their part, Villa probably have little power to resist the move, having not given Tuanzebe enough minutes.
Tuttomercatoweb says the next 48 hours are crucial:
‘What is missing, at the moment, is an agreement on the amount that Napoli must pay to United for the defender’s transfer, otherwise the operation seems already very well underway. So for Tuanzebe, 24, the next 48 hours will be decisive for his future in Italy.’
Tuanzebe’s market value according to transfermarkt.com is just £6.8 million, but United will probably demand more in the ‘option to buy’ part of the contract.
United must decide whether they are willing to grant a buy option for an academy graduate who at 24 may still develop into a world class defender but who may equally have already reached his peak. If they believe the latter is the case, then a deal with Napoli could well be on the cards in the coming hours or days.