Jose Mourinho admits injuries to his Manchester United squad will determine whether the club allow Axel Tuanzebe to leave on loan during the January transfer window.
Tuanzebe, who broke into the senior team towards the end of the 2016-17 season, has been limited to just three appearances this season, starting just one match in the third round of the Carabao Cup.
In December, Mourinho explained he would try to give first-team opportunities to the defender and 21-year-old Scott McTominay during the busy festive period. While the midfielder made a handful of appearances in December, Tuanzebe's opportunities never came.
Former United defender Steve Bruce is reportedly keen to bring the defender to Aston Villa this month, but Mourinho insists the club are in no rush to push through a deal.
With Eric Bailly still unavailable after undergoing ankle surgery in December, the United boss is currently without one of his defensive options and will wait to see if any more injuries kick in at the end of the month before sanctioning any deal.
"Tuanzebe is a very good player that is not having lots of possibilities to play here," Mourinho told United's official website. "But he's our player and he will be our player - no chance we give up on such a talented boy.
"But it is something we are thinking about, a loan until the end of the season. Yes or no. We are a bit afraid of injuries, of needs and needing him. We have Eric Bailly injured, we are not free of other injuries. So we are delaying the decision and we are going to delay it until the end of the transfer window.
"If we have to make a decision, we are going to make it at the end of the month. Probably at the end of the month, if we have no fresh injuries, if Eric Bailly is very close to being back or is already back, then probably it will be good for Axel to go on a loan and to be back for next season, because he is a player that we like very much."
United have already allowed two youngsters to leave Old Trafford on loan this month in pursuit of greater first-team opportunities, with James Wilson and Demetri Mitchell joining Sheffield United and Hearts respectively.