Axel Tuanzebe joined Aston Villa on loan at the start of the season and made nine appearances in the first 11 league games, but since Steven Gerrard’s appointment, has played just eight minutes.

A surprise loan deal to Napoli was agreed two days ago and he’s already had more playing time for the Italian side who are currently third in Serie A.

In an interview with Tuanzebe’s brother, Dimitri, who is also his agent, claims that the defenders United connections put the Liverpool legend off giving Axel a go.

Axel is very excited to begin a new chapter in his football career, playing abroad and for a club with so much history behind it and fans who worship football. Axel didn’t decide to move until it became very clear that he isn’t the manager’s first-choice centre-back and the Napoli offer was very tempting.

I have a lot of mixed emotions when it comes to Axel’s time at Villa. He is loved by the fans as he contributed highly to the club’s success in the Championship where he was one of the key players that helped Villa return to the Premier League. However, following the arrival of Steven Gerrard at Villa Park, it felt as if the rivalry between Man United and Liverpool came to life.

For the avoidance of doubts, Axel was very open to staying at Villa, he loves the fans, being in Birmingham but he also has a career that he can only build and reach his full potential in an environment where opportunities to play are fair.

The agent claims that several teams were interested in Axel but it was Napoli’s promise of playing time. They came good with this promise, giving him a substitute appearance just hours after the deal was confirmed.

The move was very easy. Man United was very supportive of the move, made sure that it was in favour of Axel’s career and Napoli did everything within their power to make the deal possible. As Axel’s agent, I made sure that the deal went ahead by working in collaboration with trusted partners in the UK and Italy.

Man United contacted me directly to notify me of Napoli’s interest, I added them to the list of clubs interested and then assessed all options with the help of my family, trusted partners and Axel. After multiple meetings with interested clubs’ sporting directors and managers, we all concluded that Napoli is the best option. Axel was persuaded by the clear path into the team, also a success story of players who have enjoyed playing time since they signed for Napoli after a lack of opportunities at their previous clubs.

Napoli is in a great position in Serie A, the league title is in sight and they’re also in the Europa league where anything is possible. Axel will play his part when called upon by the manager.