Although the additions of Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo were the headline-grabbing moments in the summer transfer window for Manchester United, departures, too, were not in short supply.

At the age of 23 when his loan switch to Villa was completed, Tuanzebe, who has since turned 24-years-old, knew that he needed regular first-team opportunities. He can no longer be considered as a youngster, even though he still has plenty of time to make a name for himself.

Considering he knew Villa like the back of his hand, having previously had two loan spells there whilst they were in the Championship, the move made sense. The Midlands outfit were considered as a club moving in the right direction after an 11th-placed finish in the Premier League last season and it was a familiar place for him to take his development to the next level.

As Villa made a steady start to the season, so did Tuanzebe. His first four Premier League appearances back at the club saw Villa collect seven points from a possible ten, including two clean sheets. It was a steady start and the United academy graduate was certainly benefitting from playing regularly at Premier League level.

However, Tuanzebe’s loan spell in the Midlands has gradually come to a standstill since the third international break of the season, during which time Villa sacked Dean Smith and replaced him with Steven Gerrard, as they looked to benefit from the quality he had produced at Rangers.

His appointment was welcomed with open arms by a large portion of the Villa faithful. It was seen as something new and it had an element of freshness and excitement to it.

For Tuanzebe, Gerrard’s arrival at Villa Park has been a nightmare. In the former Liverpool midfielder’s first six games in charge, the United centre-back, who has made 37 appearances for the Reds at first-team level, has been restricted to just two appearances from the substitutes bench, amounting to a paltry eight minutes.

If the opening few chapters of the Gerrard era have set the tone for what is to come for Tuanzebe over the coming months, United must consider what is best for the defender in January. Back in October, as United faced a centre-back injury crisis, the Manchester Evening News reported that United had no plans to recall the defender and call on him to step in.

At the time, it was understood that Tuanzebe was ‘enjoying his football’ at Villa and was set to stay at the club for the duration of the season. However, circumstances at both United and Villa have changed considerably since then, with both clubs now under fresh management.

United have a very easy decision to make next month when it comes to thinking about his future, with Gerrard, potentially, making it even easier if his limited opportunities continue.

 

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