Manchester United set asking price for Eric Bailly as Jose Mourinho plots summer raid
According to The Mirror, Manchester United have set their asking price for wantaway centre-back Eric Bailly as Jose Mourinho is keen to reunite with him at AS Roma. The Ivory Coast defender has been facing an uncertain future at Old Trafford since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign.
The 28-year-old had joined United in 2016 with a lot of promise. He was the then United manager, Jose Mourinho’s first signing at the club for a fee of around £30 million. However, he recorded the highest number of appearances during the Portuguese reign, after which his presence on the field started declining.
Eric Bailly won the Europa League, Community Shield, and League cup under the former United manager. The former Villarreal centre-back made just 113 appearances for the Red Devils in the past six seasons as his fitness started taking a toll on him.
After Mourinho’s departure, Solskajer was handed the reins but he did not trust Bailly as an ideal partner for Harry Maguire. Due to the African player’s injury record, he found appearances hard to come by and soon the trend continued even after the arrival of Ralf Rangnick.
The 28-year-old centre-back did perform admirably well for current manager Erik ten Hag in the latest preseason game against Liverpool. However, the form was again short-lived as he failed to control his frustration against Aston Villa.
Bailly received a yellow card after being on the pitch for just 15 minutes as the referee decided to book him for his spat with Emiliano Buendia. After which, Manchester United surrendered a late goal and the defender booted a plastic chair on his way out to the dressing room.
Rumours have surfaced regarding the future of Eric Bailly after the arrival of new-signing Lisandro Martinez. The ball-playing centre-back was signed by ten Hag as he continues to strengthen his defensive options.
This would have shifted Bailly further down the pecking order and the Dutch manager may now choose to start Maguire, Raphael Varane, Victor Lindelof, or Martinez ahead of the Ivory Coast defender. It does make sense for the player to leave even after he has 18 months left on his present contract.
However, the asking price set by the club would raise questions about the deal. The board is ready to listen to offers worth £10 million as Italian club Roma are interested in his services. Mourinho would love to reunite with his former player but letting him leave for such a low price would be a major loss for the club.
This would still mean that United would take a hit of around £20 million and it would be expected that Roma would meet the club’s asking price. The former Manchester United manager has already traded Chris Smalling from Manchester three years ago and he would look to raid the club again in search of more signings.
A move to Italy would be the best decision Bailly can make as he would get a chance to revive his career under a manager who is well known for his capabilities. His poor fitness record would be the only stumbling block and the club would be ready to take the risk of paying out £10m to sign him for a short-term deal.
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The expectations at Roma would be huge but they would not be any bigger than the ones he would have at Old Trafford. A move would help both parties and especially the Red Devils, who would be able to offload yet another deadwood at the club.