Harry Maguire believes Man Utd lost another dressing room “leader” on deadline day – Blessing Sports News

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Manchester United completed the signing of Marcel Sabitzer in the dying minutes of the January transfer window – with his exit finalized further past the deadline

While the deadline-beating move of Bayern Munich’s Marcel Sabitzer was a big story at Manchester United, there were other deals finalized in the final throes of the window.

Understandably, all eyes were on Sabitzer as he flew in from Germany to sign a loan contract for the remainder of the season. But at the same time, Stoke City face a similar race with time to complete Axel Tuanzebe’s move.

Sabitzer’s move is one of the latest in the window, with confirmation coming 70 minutes after the 11pm deadline. However, Potters fans were made to stay up late, with Tuanzebe’s loan unannounced for another half hour.

The 25-year-old will make a brief trip to M6 for the remainder of the season, where he will hope to help Alex Neil return to the Championship play-offs. And while his contract at the bet365 Stadium is temporary, it effectively confirms that he will be leaving Old Trafford this summer.

Tuanzebe, a graduate of the club’s academy system, will become a free agent at the end of this season and there has been no sign of an extension. That means the centre-back will use his time in the second tier to convince potential suitors he is still the same player touted as a future star for United.

Back in 2015, Tuanzebe joined the likes of Marcus Rashford, Danny Welbeck and Ryan Giggs in winning United’s prestigious Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year award.

Harry Maguire arrived at United four years after Tuanzebe took the gong and was quickly given the captaincy. It was a decision that has come under intense scrutiny in recent months, with reports that many felt Cristiano Ronaldo should have taken over from him.

Man Utd captain Harry Maguire says Axel Tuanzebe is the leader in the dressing room

Ronaldo’s exit has put an end to that debate and Maguire’s earlier comments about Tuanzebe suggest that Erik ten Hag’s side may have been missing another key leadership figure behind the scenes.

“We have a lot of leaders in the locker room, a lot of senior professionals,” he said in 2021. “And you don’t have to be a senior professional to be a leader. Axel is a leader, in that way he works and speaks in the locker room.

“And he’s still a kid, he’s still learning his craft. I’m sure he will have a great career.”

That is an assessment shared by former boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who made him United’s youngest-ever captain in a Carabao Cup game in 2019.

“Axel is a future captain, he’s a leader. Why not give it to the youngsters?” Solskjaer asked talkSPORT about the United captain. “How is he handling it? He’s fine, he’s enjoying it. It’s just a way of telling him we believe in him.”

Axel Tuanzebe captained Man Utd in 2019

Speaking after Tuanzebe’s brilliant display against Paris Saint-Germain in October 2020, he added: “I’m delighted for him. Now, it’s about getting consistency in his performances, he needs to stay injury-free but I think he can do it, he’s a leader.

“He can play right back, centre-back, midfield. He is a boy who is in charge of his own development and he is doing everything he can to have a long career at United and get that consistency.”

Injuries have since hampered Tuanzebe’s development at United, with Erik ten Hag unable to call upon him since his appointment last summer. His last appearance for his parent club came away in the Europa League final in 2021.

Tuanzebe’s last appearance, full stop, is now over a year ago, in hopes he can finally get regular football in the division he won promotion with Aston Villa in 2019.

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