Napoli are interested in signing Axel Tuanzebe, who’s on loan at Aston Villa from Manchester United.
Tuanzebe, 24, moved to Villa park under Dean Smith, after impressing the English manager during his previous loan spells in the Championship.
However, since Smith was replaced by Steven Gerrard, the centre-back has lost his place in the starting XI, and is yet to start a game under the new boss.
Napoli, meanwhile, are in search for a centre-back to fill Kalidou Koulibaly’s void. The Senegal international will be involved in the Africa Cup of Nations. Kostas Manolas also left Napoli to return to Olympiacos earlier this month.
According to Fabrizio Romano, the Serie A side are in contact with United ‘through intermediaries’ to loan Tuanzebe for the rest of the season. He is appreciated at Napoli, who are also looking to include a buy option.
Negotiations are in progress and Villa are now waiting for United’s decision. Despite playing Tuanzebe for just eight minutes, Gerrard would still need a new centre-back to maintain his squad depth if the versatile defender’s move to Napoli is finalised.
Phil Jones is another United centre-back who could be on the move in the January transfer window. The 29-year-old has returned to full fitness, but is yet to feature under Ralf Rangnick.