Aston Villa are hoping to seal a deal for Manchester United youngster Axel Tuanzebe.
The 20-year-old is equally comfortable playing in defence or midfield and manager Steve Bruce is understood to have been tracking him for a number of weeks.
Bruce confirmed during his press conference last Friday that he was close to completing his first signing of the transfer window and Tuanzebe is believed to be his man.
This is what we know about Tuanzebe at the moment...
Who is he?
Tuanzebe was born in Bunia, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and can play both at centre half and in midfield.
He started Premier League games against Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Southampton and Crystal Palace at the end of last season.
He has impressive pedigree, with Paul McGuinness, a former United youth team coach, saying: "It was the first time I'd picked a first-year scholar as captain. I don't think that has happened since Gary Neville was youth-team skipper. Axel did a very good job - on and off the field."
The 6ft 1ins youngster has played for Manchester United five times in total, and turned out for England Under-21 for the first time earlier this year.
What did Bruce say?
“Until we’ve got them over the line, out of respect for the clubs we’re talking to I can’t really reveal it,” he said.
Tuanzebe has made three appearances for United this season in wins over Swansea City, CSKA Moscow and Everton and has a further five appearances to his name dating back to his United debut last season.
Bruce enjoys a fantastic working relationship with United boss Jose Mourinho and already has goalkeeper Sam Johnstone on loan from Old Trafford.
If Villa can force the Tuanzebe deal through he will become Bruce’s fourth loan signing this term following on from Johnstone, Josh Onomah and Robert Snodgrass’ summer arrivals.
How does he play?
This is what Samuel Luckhurst, of the Manchester Evening News, said of him:
His reading of the game is so sharp he rarely has to make sliding tackles, while his pace and athleticism often give him the edge over opponents. Tuanzebe has captained the youth teams but is a composed talker.
The Rochdale lad is capable of stepping up into defensive midfield, too.
More transfer news
Steve Bruce ‘will listen to offers’ for midfielder Aaron Tshibola as clubs prepare to make their move for Aston Villa’s forgotten man.
The 23-year-old has only played 10 times for Villa since arriving for £5million from Reading in 2016 and is expected to depart this month and the club are understood to have fielded enquiries.
Tshibola was sent back from a loan spell at MK Dons in November having failed to make a lasting impression at Stadium MK.
His stint with the League One side follows another unsuccessful loan with Nottingham Forest where he only played four times in five months.
And Villa are now looking to offload Tshibola once again with another temporary move most likely.
Asked specifically about Tshibola’s situation, Bruce told us: “He needs to go and play, that’s for sure. We will listen to offers for him. There’s one or two things bubbling away.”
Tshibola started Bruce’s first game in charge at Villa Park against Wolves before spending the next three months on the peripheries.
The former Royals man made a rare outing for Vila’s under-23s on Monday as they were defeated 3-1 by Fulham, but it’s first team minutes he needs.
“It hasn’t gone well for him at MK Dons,” Bruce added. “He will say, to be fair to him, that he played out of position. We’re not making excuses for that. However, he’s still only young and the burden of a big money move to Aston Villa possibly was too big for him.
“He’s got to go and establish himself. It’s a waste of time him playing under-23 football so if there’s a club out there for somebody like him, we’ll take it.”