By Wayne Veysey

29th Jul, 2021 | 7:00am

Sources: Newcastle leapfrog Aston Villa in Tuanzebe race after talks held

Newcastle United have leapfrogged Aston Villa in the race to sign Axel Tuanzebe this summer, Football Insider understands.

Man United are ready to loan out the versatile defender, 23, after agreeing to sign Raphael Varane from Man United.

A Newcastle source has told Football Insider the club have registered their interest in taking Tuanzebe on loan and have been given encouragement over a deal.

Villa also made an enquiry for the centre-back, who can slot in at full-back, after letting Bjorn Engels go earlier in the window.

Dean Smith wants an athletic centre-back with Premier League experience to provide cover and competition for first-choice duo Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa.

But Newcastle are now in a pole position for a deal as they can offer Tuanzebe a regular starting role.

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Manager Steve Bruce is keen for more pace in his back line and believes Tuanzebe, one of the quickest players at Man United, fits the bill.

Discussions have been held over a season-long loan and Newcastle are increasingly confident of agreeing a deal.

That would be a blow to Villa, who were impressed by Tuanzebe during two previous loan spells.

He was on the fringes of Ole-Gunnar Solskjaer’s team last season, making 19 appearances across all competitions but only four Premier League starts.

Three of those came in May at the end of the campaign when Harry Maguire was out injured and United fielded a weakened team.

In other news, Newcastle United could be about to sign £35m-valued star in shock move.