Newcastle are ‘monitoring the situation’ of Manchester United defender Axel Tuanzebe, according to The Athletic‘s Chris Waugh.
The Magpies are keen to sign a ‘ball-playing centre-back’ during this summer’s transfer window, and are about to step-up their efforts.
23-year-old Tuanzebe made 18 appearances for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side across all competitions last season, but that included just four Premier League starts (via WhoScored).
After Manchester United beat Granada 2-0 to seal passage to the Europa League semifinals back in April, Solskjaer did hail him as ‘outstanding’, so this is clearly still a young player with immense potential in need of regular minutes.
Tuanzebe has less than 12 months left on his contract at Old Trafford, but the club have the option to extend it for a further year. He’s valued at £7.2million by Transfermarkt.
Waugh reports that Newcastle already look to have missed out on three of their top central defensive targets.
The club fear being ‘priced out’ of a move for their plan A, Celtic’s Kristoffer Ajer, and former Liverpool loanee Ozan Kabak has also been deemed unaffordable.
Arsenal’s William Saliba was another candidate before he instead opted to join Marseilles for the 2021/22 season.
Tuanzebe has now emerged as an alternative option, with Bruce familiar with the player after overseeing his loan spell at Aston Villa in 2018, but their interest has yet to be formalised.
Virtually every name on the list has been an encouraging one for Newcastle fans. Ajer, Kabak and Saliba have proven to be out of reach, but Tuanzebe would be an excellent addition too. Looking for talented players on the fringes of big-six sides is a good policy for Newcastle at the moment.
The only uninspiring target identified by Waugh is Tottenham Hotspur’s Cameron Carter-Vickers, who spent last season on loan at Bournemouth.
Newcastle want a centre-back who can comfortably slot straight into a back three, not one who will need time to adapt to a higher level. Tuanzebe seems to fit the bill, having often played in a back three while at Old Trafford.
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