Manchester United are reportedly set to commence talks with central defender Eric Bailly in order to get him to commit to the club with the offer of a new contract. The Ivory Coast defender will be out of contract next summer, although there is the option to trigger the additional year on the contract he signed in the summer of 2016.
Bailly suffered a knee ligament injury at the end of last season, undergoing surgery which he is yet to recover from. He is expected to be on the sidelines until the Christmas period, which may mean he will not be able to play until January 2020 with him needing to reach a level of match fitness, which may happen with the U23s.
It is expected that the 25-year-old still has a future at the Old Trafford club despite the arrival of Victor Lindelof two years ago and the arrival of Harry Maguire this summer. There are even reports that there is a clause in Bailly’s contract which means the club can extend his commitment to the club for a further two years, whether that is true or not, I don’t know.
An apparent source from the Old Trafford club spoke to the media, where it was relayed that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was a fan of the player and that he is still wanted at the club. Personally, I see Lindelof and Maguire as the first-choice partnership right now with Axel Tuanzebe ahead of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling. Marcos Rojo seems unwanted. The source said:
“The club want Eric to stay and are looking for talks about an extension.
“We don’t want to lose him on a free transfer next summer. It’s just down to both parties agreeing to everything.
“His injury record isn’t a major concern for us. We just think he has been unlucky with everyone over the last few years.
“Ole is a fan of the player and we’re going to convince him to stay, at least that is the plan at present.”
The report states that Bailly will be free to discuss moves with other European clubs from the 1 January 2020, which will only be true if his extra year, which was an agreement in his contract which was signed in 2016 is not activated. Obviously, just like David De Gea’s clause, it will be activated if talks extend into the Christmas period.
However, with nothing else for Bailly to do during his period of recovery, he will most likely have the time to talk about a possible renewal and when he has recovered and is fit to play again, he can work on winning a place in the team once more. Bailly, when fit, is a capable central defender who in his first season at the club, did well to establish himself.