We are excited to see how Axel Tuanzebe performs in Serie A after making his debut for Napoli at the weekend.
The Manchester United defender, who joined the Italian side on loan last week, made his debut after coming on as a substitute in a 1-0 win over Sampdoria on Sunday.
Napoli have a chance to win their first Serie A title in more than 30-years as they sit third, six points behind league leaders Inter Milan, and he could also feature in their thrilling Europa League tie against European giants Barcelona.
However, some information has been revealed about why Tuanzebe left Aston Villa midway through the season, despite the fact his loan deal wasn’t set to expire until the end of the season.
He wasn’t getting game time at Villa Park, especially after Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard arrived as manager, so it didn’t surprise us to see United pull him out of there with Napoli interested.
Gerrard went on record at the end of December to say he wanted Tuanzebe to stay at Villa longer, as per Sky Sports.
One would think the Italian side gave assurances to play Tuanzebe more often than Villa, otherwise the switch will end up being more destructive than anything.
His agent and brother, Dimitri Tuanzebe, has spoken to ESPN about their decision to leave Villa Park, with the prime reason being Gerrard letting a football rivalry get in the way of his duties as manager.
“Axel is very excited to begin a new chapter in his football career, playing abroad and for a club with so much history behind it and fans who worship football,” Dimirti said.
“Axel didn’t decide to move until it became very clear that he isn’t the manager’s first-choice centre-back and the Napoli offer was very tempting.
“I have a lot of mixed emotions when it comes to Axel’s time at Villa. He is loved by the fans as he contributed highly to the club’s success in the Championship where he was one of the key players that helped Villa return to the Premier League.
“However, following the arrival of Steven Gerrard at Villa Park, it felt as if the rivalry between Man United and Liverpool came to life.
“For the avoidance of doubts, Axel was very open to staying at Villa, he loves the fans, being in Birmingham but he also has a career that he can only build and reach his full potential in an environment where opportunities to play are fair.”
How classless as a manager do you have to be to treat one of your own players differently because they're on loan from a playing days rival. What a loser Gerrard is.
— UnitedMuppetiers (@Muppetiers) January 10, 2022
It reeks of unprofessionalism.
Tuanzebe was restricted to just eight minutes of action under Gerrard, which led his agent to push for a move to Italy.
United were right to pull Tuanzebe out of Villa.
We spoke to a Villa fan in the lead up to tonight’s FA Cup clash and he didn’t think Tuanzebe warranted a place in the starting line-up, which is fair enough…
But how pig-headed is that of Gerrard? Staying at Villa Park could have potentially pushed Tuanzebe further down the pecking order at United, and he can’t afford that with his future already unclear.
As a manager, it shows a major flaw in Gerrard’s management, even though the UK media are unlikely to blink an eye-lid about it.
A good spell in Italy and he could stay there like Chris Smalling did at AS Roma.