Gerrard rivalry with Man Utd influenced Axel Tuanzebe move to Napoli, says brother
Tuanzebe had been on loan at Aston Villa from Manchester United
Axel Tuanzebe's brother - who is also his agent - has claimed that Steven Gerrard's rivalry with Manchester United is the reason why he left Aston Villa.
Tuanzebe recently joined Serie A side Napoli on loan for the remainder of the season after starting the season at Villa in his third loan spell at the club, however since the arrival of former Liverpool legend Gerrard, has played just eight minutes of football.
Despite the 24-year-old's reluctance to leave Villa Park, his brother Dimitri believes that Gerrard's rivalry towards Tuanzebe's parent club was a factor in his lack of game time.
"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," he told ESPN.
"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."
— Official SSC Napoli (@sscnapoli) January 8, 2022
Tuanzebe made his debut for his new club on Sunday (January 9) in their 1-0 win against Sampdoria and his brother praised his client's parent club for the way they handled the move.
He said: "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.
"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."
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