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Eric Bailly offered to AC Milan with Italian side not interested – reports

Manchester United central defender Eric Bailly has reportedly been offered to Italian side AC Milan this summer, says The Sun. The Ivorian has seemingly fallen down the pecking order at United and has seen Victor Lindelof predominantly partner Harry Maguire in the centre of the clubs defence. If this is true, it cold well be that Bailly is surplus to requirements at Old Trafford this summer, if United can find a buyer.

It would seem that AC Milan are not the team that would be interested in the Ivorian who signed for United in June 2016 from La Liga side Villarreal for £30 million, signing a four year contract at the time. Back in January, Bailly signed a contract extension which will expire in the summer of 2022, which gives United the opportunity to sell the player this summer, earning funds to continue Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s rebuild.

Italian news source Gazzetta dello Sport is where the report has come from, suggesting that the 26-year-old has been offered to the Serie A club, and seemingly rejected, which is not all that good for United or the player. It could be a similar response from many clubs as they will have seen the fact that Bailly does not have the best injury record at United. In his four years at United, he has missed 62 matches due to injury.

During the 2019/20 season, Bailly have made just 10 appearances for United at first team level, playing once at U23 level as one of the three overage outfield players allowed in conjunction with the Premier League 2 rules and regulations. He has not scored any goals or assists during the course of the season. In four years at the club, Bailly has made 84 appearances, scoring one goal and has played 6,361 minutes of football.

It would seem that with the futures of Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Chris Smalling up in the air with Jones hardly featuring for United, Rojo loaned in January and Smalling returning from loan at AS Roma this week, adding Bailly to that list could severely change Solskjaer’s defensive line with suggestions of a new central defender coming to the club this summer, unless Smalling will end up being retained.

That said, the likes of Teden Mengi and Ethan Laird could give rotation options, however, despite being able to play centrally, Laird seems to be a better fullback option. Axel Tuanzebe will play a part somewhere but his own injury record is alarming and could end up costing him his career, but that will be further down the line. This report makes me wonder is Bailly could leave this summer, which could be a big shake up at the club.

Written by John Walker

Manchester United interested in signing £45 million Ismael Bennacer – reports

Manchester United are apparently interested in signing AC Milan midfielder Ismael Bennacer this summer. The player is said to be worth £45 million and has been linked with Manchester City already this summer. The 22-year-old spent two-years at Arsenal previously, so has some experience of England although he was considered a flop.

The Gunners apparently rejected the activate a clause in the contract when they sold the player to Empoli in the summer of 2017 before making a €16 million move to Milan. The Algerian has impressed at the San Siro this season, making 27 appearances for the club, not scoring any goals but assisting one.

Algerian news outlet, Competition, which was translated by Sport Witness has linked both Manchester clubs with the midfielder this summer. It is stated that both United and City were ‘following the matter’ with Pep Guardiola hoping to pair the player with international teammate Riyad Mahrez, however, it could be a rumour with no legs.

It was just last summer when Bennacer and Mahrez helped Algeria to their first African Cup of Nations victory since 1990 with the 22-year-old named as the Player of the Tournament. French champions Paris Saint-German are said to be leading the way in the race to sign the Algerian this summer, opening with a £35 million offer for the player.

It has been stated that Milan would think about an offer of £45 million or more for the player, giving them ‘food for thought’. The player was at Arsenal at the age of 17 and it did not work out for him in North London. Many will write the player off because of that. Speaking about his time in England, Bennacer told Gazzetta dello Sport the following:

“I have no regrets. I still got to train with important players like Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla.

“I had four years left on the Arsenal contract, but I had to be at a club where they really wanted me.”

Nemanja Matic’s time at Manchester United is drawing to a close; academy graduate ready to show his worth

Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic is coming to the end of his career at the club. In the summer, both AC Milan and Inter Milan were interested in the 31-year-old, whose contract will run out at the end of the season, although there is the option for another year to be added, which might ensure United got a fee for the player, should he leave.

Reports in the media suggested that Matic was ‘forced’ to stay at the club this summer but could have linked up with Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez at Inter, if he was allowed to leave. So far this season, after not being picked to start or come off the bench in the first three matches, Matic played 22 minutes against Southampton, a 1-1 draw.

Looking at the fact Matic has been overlooked by Solskjaer this season is pretty telling that his number is nearly up. When he has played, he has been very slow, effectively slowing down United’s counter-attacking play, even taking time to despatch the ball, which is clearly not going to work for United. Matic has been professional, to a point.

Only last week, Matic had suggested that Solskjaer could lose his job this season if he did not get things right. Some took that as a criticism, others a call to arms to get the players ready for their matches after the first international break of the season. The media, of course, took the negative slant as the words ‘Manchester United’ sell and bring in clicks. Matic said:

“The coach must opt for the team that will fight for the title and if he does not win, he bears the responsibility.

“I have been in football for a long time, I have played almost all the games for all the clubs in the last 10 years.

“In order for me to play, one had to sit on the bench and accept that fact, and so do I now.”

At this moment in time, it is hard to see where Matic fits into this United team. With Solskjaer utilising a 4-2-3-1 formation, which is not really working, with Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay the trusted central midfielders, even a switch to a 4-3-3 formation might see Matic remain on the bench or not involved at all.

United need more creativity in the midfield, which is where Angel Gomes could come in. In terms of filling Matic’s position, James Garner, who has so far performed for the U23s this season, scoring four goals and one assist in the four matches he has played, could see him fast-tracked into first team contention, which would be great to see.

Garner has been compared to United coach and former player, Michael Carrick. This is based on his style of play and positioning during matches. Despite his age, 18, Garner plays football as a much older player. He is calm and composed with a high work rate and level of determination. He’s a natural leader with a good footballing mind.

Ensuring that the 18-year-old plays first team football this season will be down to Solskjaer, who can call on his services from the U23s. United also have the likes of Fred, who has not played a single minute of football this season but for me, Garner is the more exciting prospect, although Fred should be given a chance to redeem himself after last season.

I would imagine, that if Garner started playing to a good standard at first-team level, the likelihood of Matic leaving in January or even next summer would be very high, as long as there was interest in his services, of which there would seem to be in Italy. Should Garner and Fred play well, if, given the chance, this could, in fact, become reality?

copyright: JW