Manchester United’s arch-nemesis Steven Gerrard is back in the Premier League and is set to face his old rivals once more when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side make the trip to Villa Park later this season.
Gerrard’s move from Rangers to Aston Villa was confirmed earlier on Thursday and the former Liverpool midfielder will be dying to avenge that horrendous showing in his last appearance against Manchester United, when he was sent off less than 60 seconds after being introduced as a second-half substitute.
Nevertheless, he is back in the Premier League and his rivalry with Manchester United is set to be reignited. Solskjaer is under increasing pressure at Manchester United but despite the uncertainty surrounding his job, there has been no indication that the club is planning on replacing the Norwegian.
Instead, he is expected to be in charge for the foreseeable future and thus, he will be desperate for Gerrard to do him a favour in his new job at Aston Villa.
Academy graduate Axel Tuanzebe joined Aston Villa on a season-long loan earlier this year and has had a stop-start season so far. After helping the Birmingham club to promotion in 2019, he has endured an injury-plagued spell but is now looking to put that behind him as he eyes a regular starting place in the Villan’s side.
There are questions over Tyrone Mings, the Aston Villa captain, and centre-back Kortney Hause, which could open up an avenue for Tuanzebe to impress the new manager.
Upon his return to Manchester United, Tuanzebe will have just one year remaining on his contract and an impressive loan spell could convince the club to extend his deal.
Despite the arrival of Raphael Varane, Manchester United have been far from convincing in their defensive third and Tuanzbe returning in good stead could prove to be a lifesaver for Solskjaer.
The prospect of Tuanzebe slotting into his side would save the headache of targetting another centre-back this summer and in truth, the 23-year-old possesses all the qualities to develop into a top-level defender.
That performance against Paris Saint-Germain last season remains one of the most impressive by a United defender in recent years and if Tuanzebe’s confidence is anything to go by, he will be certain to replicate that on a weekly basis in the future.
It remains to be seen whether Gerrard decides to stick with Dean Smiths’ trusted defensive duo of Mings and Ezri Konsa but Tuanzebe is definitely one to keep an eye out for – Solskjaer certainly will.