Manchester United are renewing player’s contracts at an impressive rate. But, thus far, Axel Tuanzebe has not been one of them.
The 23-year-old’s current deal expires in 2022. There is an option to extend by a further year but it has not been triggered so far. Tuanzebe’s talent is such that he should commit to United sooner rather than later.
The problem is, there are only so many spaces in United’s squad. By now, Tuanzebe should have racked up close to 100 appearances for the Red Devils.
Instead, a series of injuries mean the centre-back has only featured 33 times. And competition for places won’t make it any easier in the years ahead.
Eric Bailly has joined Teden Mengi in signing a new deal at Old Trafford. With Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire featuring week in, week out, Tuanzebe may wonder what the future holds.
Most likely, the young defender will agree a new contract of his own and then head out on loan. But it is telling that he could be approaching his mid-twenties and still only knocking on the door.
Fierce competition for places
Bailly will be hoping to put his own injury problems behind him. Only time will tell if that happens. But there is no doubting the Ivorian’s quality when he is fit and firing.
As for Mengi, he formed a formidable partnership with Tuanzebe for United U23s and will want to build on his current loan spell next time round.
Mengi is highly-rated at United and is five years younger than Tuanzebe. His season-ending injury is disappointing but he will be hoping to return to action for what promises to be a very exciting 2021/22.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has had plenty of chances to play Tuanzebe this season. Yet he has featured for a single minute in the club’s last 13 league games.
Mengi and Bailly look to be at United for the long haul. If Tuanzebe follows suit, the battle for a first-team shot could be tougher than ever.
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