Manchester United have revealed Axel Tuanzebe has stepped up his recovery from the foot injury that ended his season last time around.
After impressing on loan with Aston Villa in 2018/19, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had penned the academy graduate in for a bigger role in United’s side.
However, injuries restricted to him just five appearances last term, with Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire the preferred defensive partnership.
United fans are desperate for more reinforcements in the final weeks of the window, with the defence a particular area of concern.
Maguire and Lindelof came under fire for their part in the dismal opening day defeat to Crystal Palace, with Red Devils legend Gary Neville claiming a centre-back should be Solskjaer’s priority.
Following the Palace defeat, Neville told Sky Sports: “You can talk about Jadon Sancho all you like.
“But until they get a centre-back in that can run and defend one on one, you’re never going to win the league. They have to get a mobile, quick, dominant centre-back in alongside Lindelof or Maguire.”
Manchester United are looking to plot their path back to the top. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has already brought in Donny van de Beek but Jadon Sancho remains Manchester United’s number one target.
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But Tuanzebe, who started last campaign as the third choice option for Solskjaer, will be hoping for a more significant role, if defensive arrivals are not forthcoming.
At the start of the month Solskjaer said: “Axel is getting closer.
“In a few weeks’ time, I guess he will be with us training full-time and hopefully we’ll be able to give him games quickly.”
And United’s latest social media post, with the caption: “On the road to recovery”, appears to show he could be nearing in on a first-team return.
Fans were delighted to see the update, with one saying: “Just like a new signing”.
Another posted: “I really hope he is over his injury problems. We are going to need him badly this season,” while another replied: “Axel! The new centre back that we desperately need.”
“All the potential to be a world class CB, just has to get past these injuries,” a fourth said.
While many believed his return to fitness could make a new signing unlikely: “Our CB signing has arrived,” a supporter suggested.