29-year-old player leaves Manchester United for free to join new club

Manchester United defender Eric Bailly has completed a move to Besiktas

According to BBC, Manchester United and Besiktas have reached an agreement for the transfer of the 29-year-old Eric Bailly on a free transfer.

United allowed the free transfer even when the player did not run out of his contract at Old Trafford. That only means one thing — that his contract was terminated and he was allowed to join his new club for free.

United manager Erik ten Hag did not have Bailly as part of his plans. He spent the 2022-23 season on loan at Ligue 1 club Marseille. He didn’t impress a lot there, and it has become clear that he won’t have a future here given Lisandro Martinez, Raphael Varane, Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire’s presence.

Al-Nassr switch focus to Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte from Manchester United centre-back Eric Bailly.
Manchester United centre-back Eric Bailly. (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)

Bailly made a controversial comment during his loan spell by accusing United of favoritism toward English players. It is clear that such comments would certainly have irked United’s hierarchy.

Manchester United have rid themselves of Bailly’s wages, which is a good thing. If there was a lack of interest in the player, then it made sense to leave him for free because otherwise, any club that did come to the table may not have been open to paying a transfer fee.

The Ivorian international made a total of 113 appearances for United. Former United manager Jose Mourinho signed Bailly from Villarreal in June 2016. Despite his quality, Bailly struggled with injuries throughout his spell at United.

Marseille's Ivorian defender Eric Bailly.
Manchester United defender Eric Bailly played for Marseille on a season-long loan. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)

United are currently going through an injury crisis in defense. Luke Shaw and Raphael Varane are out for a substantial amount of time. Ten Hag will be hoping that his key players return from injury very soon. Lisandro Martinez also suffered a foot injury with his return date currently unknown.

Currently, Ten Hag has Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, and Johnny Evans available for selection in central defence. Maguire, meanwhile, seems to be the fourth-choice defender here.

But even with all of this, Bailly’s performances and fitness issues never made him a real contender to be a regular starter here. At Besiktas, he will have the chance to play more and at his age, he still has time to rekindle his career.

Manchester United fans would wish him nothing but the best at his new club.