Ipswich Town look set to miss out on the signing of former Manchester United defender Axel Tuanzebe, according to the Daily Mail.
Manager Kieran McKenna had been hoping for a reunion with the 25-year-old after coaching the player during his time at Old Trafford, but it is claimed that the centre-back is now in talks with La Liga outfit Real Betis.
The Tractor Boys had been touted as a potential destination for the free agent and he has reportedly been on trial with the club. Speaking last week, McKenna confirmed that the two parties were in talks;
“Axel’s a player I know very well, a player of real high pedigree. He’s someone that we’re speaking to at the moment.
“He is not fully returned from his (back) injury yet, so we’re continuing to have discussions with him as that process goes on.
“There’s not too much more I can add at the moment. We’ve got a space in our squad available and Axel’s a free agent and a tremendous player, who has played at higher levels and would be attractive to any club, certainly at this level.
“So we’re speaking with him and we’ll continue to speak with him and see if it’s beneficial for us and the right thing for the player to join us at some stage.”
Despite Ipswich looking the favourites to secure his signature at one stage, the Daily Mail’s report claims that former Manchester City boss Manual Pellegrini is keen to bring Tuanzebe to Real Betis and talks have started over a potential deal. Premier League duo Sheffield United and Luton Town have also expressed an interest, although the La Liga outfit are able to offer European football this season having qualified for the group stages of the Europa League.
The former England under-21 international was released by Manchester United in the summer after several years battling with injury problems. A fresh start looks to be on the horizon, although it appears that this will not be at Portman Road.
Tuanzebe is a player that oozes quality, but his injury problems have stalled his career. Depending on whether he can stay fit, this is a player that can be a real asset and many remember his wonderful outing against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League in 2020, where he kept Kylian Mbappe at bay in a player-of-the-match performance
Ipswich were hoping that the defender’s relationship with Kieran McKenna would be enough to tempt him to drop back down to the Championship following his difficult loan spell with Stoke City last season, but a chance to play European football may be too much of a lure. They may not be out of the running just yet, but Tuanzebe is likely to take one last punt at top level football and the chance to rebuild his career after a frustrating couple of years.