We haven’t seen much of Axel Tuanzebe due to a succession of injuries, and the Birmingham Mail reports he is likely to miss the remainder of the season after making just five appearances in total for us.
Still, the Sun says Steve Bruce is keen on recruiting the 20-year-old for next season despite the problems he has faced since his loan arrival from Manchester United. Here are a few reasons why we might be keen to keep hold of him:
1) Financial Fair Play
The likelihood is that we will have to wheel and deal in the transfer market if we do remain in the Championship. Everyone hopes we can make it up through the playoffs at least, but the club will need to put contingency plans in place in case things don’t go well.
2) Loss of Defensive Cover
There are a number of defenders who are out of contract in the summer. Alan Hutton, Chris Samba and John Terry all could leave in June, and our lack of cover for Neil Taylor at left-back means we could have very few options come July.
Axel is ostensibly a centre back, but his athleticism means he can operate in either full-back role as well. With that being the case, he would help ensure there is cover in all four positions in the backline for next season. With it being a loan spell too, he would be a cost-effective solution.
3) Exciting Potential
The 20-year-old is highly thought of at Old Trafford, and could offer a real genuine alternative to the older, more experienced defenders in the squad. If we are in the Premier League then, of course, he would get a lot less game time, but there is a case to be made that he could do a job for us as a squad player in the top flight.
He didn’t play enough for me to really give a full assessment but I don’t think we should be afraid of taking a risk on a young player if he does have the talent to succeed.
All of this is injury permitting though, and we will just have to wait until the summer to see if we do bring him back to the club.