Newcastle United loan target Axel Tuanzebe is being heavily linked with Aston Villa.
Steve Bruce was keen to be reunited with the Manchester United 23-year-old but it is understood that a huge loan fee of £5million has been quoted to interested clubs.
Bruce has made no secret of his admiration for the player he had on loan at Villa during his stint in the second city.
But the Athletic are now suggesting Villa boss Dean Smith has won the race to secure his services.
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It is now expected, according to multiple sources, that Tuanzebe will sign an extension to his Man United contract before returning to Aston Villa.
That would be another dose of disappointment for Bruce on the loan front after struggling to get Arsenal to commit to a deal for Joe Willock so far this summer - although there is still some hope that the Gunners' youngster could still arrive on Tyneside.
Having accepted that funds would be low at St James' Park this summer, Bruce has been brutally honest about recruitment this summer.
He said after the 3-2 win at Doncaster Rovers: "The one thing I am never going to do is b******* them (supporters).
"And they know, everybody knows how difficult it is going to be.
"We haven't got a lot of money.
"And as managers we always want players and money to improve the team.
"That's our job - I don't think I am alone though in thinking it's going to be quiet, so we have to be patient.
"We have to wait for the big huge clubs and see what they do.
"I hope people take that the right way."
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