Aston Villa chairman Dr Tony Xia has confirmed that Axel Tuanzebe has joined the club on a loan deal until the end of the season.
The youngster impressed during the latter stages of the 2016/17 campaign but a lack of opportunities this season – just one start – has led to talk of a loan move away.
Jose Mourinho confirmed that the loan move was a possibility but insisted he would only sanction the deal if Eric Bailly was making good progress in his recovery from an ankle operation.
And following reports claiming that the Ivorian would return to action in time for the clash with Sevilla, Tuanzebe has been granted his wish and will join the Championship side – currently fourth in the Championship – until the end of the season.
Tuanzebe will not just have the chance to play regular games at Villa Park in a solid defence that includes John Terry; he will, perhaps more importantly, experience plenty of pressure situations over the next few months – something he hasn’t yet truly experienced in his career.
Villa, just three points behind second placed Derby County, could yet secure automatic promotion, but the likelihood is that they will be embroiled in a playoff battle after a gruelling 42-game season.
And Tuanzebe will no doubt come back to Old Trafford following that experience, hopefully culminating in a victory at Wembley (possibly against a Sheffield United side including James Wilson), as a more rounded, seasoned player.