'Excellent' Axel Tuanzebe backed to be a success in Serie A

Axel Tuanzebe is finalising his move to Napoli on loan for the rest of the season.

Tuanzebe has quit Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa after a lack of chances and is set to take on a new challenge in Serie A.

Fabrizio Romano reports Tuanzebe is set to undergo his medical in Italy on Friday, reporting Manchester an agreement between Manchester United and Napoli is ‘signed and sealed’.

Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images

The move is a great opportunity for Tuanzebe to take on a new league and hopefully play regular football.

The centre-back is already being tipped for success, with former Bologna director of football Walter Sabatini praising his potential.

Sabatini told Gazzetta dello Sport: “Tuanzebe of Napoli is an excellent defender, he looks like Smalling. He will do well.”

Former Watford sporting director Gianluca Nani has also spoke excitedly about Tuanzebe to tell Napoli fans about the player they will be getting.

Nani was quoted by Tutto Napoli: “Tuanzebe is a good player, reactive, flexible, attentive, fast, I like him very much and I finally expect the explosion from him. Spalletti is a master at these things and I’m sure he will finally be able to make the player take that leap in quality. We in Italy are masters in team defense and I’m sure he will learn a lot.

“Like all young players he needs to play continuously, I have often seen him play live and for me he is a very good player. I think Napoli have taken the best they could get, especially given the budget available.”

Could this be the chance Tuanzebe has been waiting for?

A move to Aston Villa felt a little too convenient for Tuanzebe back in the summer, when he chose a familiar surrounding due to his previous loan there, rather than the challenge of Newcastle, who could have offered him a guaranteed starting spot.

The Villa move backfired, with Tuanzebe failing to command a regular place and manager Dean Smith losing his job after a run of defeats.

Photo by John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

The move to Italy is something entirely new for Tuanzebe, and the comparison with Chris Smalling is an apt one, which will encourage him, thanks to the immediate impression the veteran made at Roma.

Funnily enough it was Tuanzebe’s development in the summer of 2019 which ended up pushing Smalling out of the door, but injuries put paid to the United youngster’s progress that season.

Now fully fit once again, Tuanzebe does not want to risk the rest of this season being wasted on the Villa bench, and he is right to pursue a new challenge to revitalise his career.

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