Eric Bailly signed a new contract at Manchester United this week, tying his future to the club until at least 2024.
As rumours of the deal broke, prior to the announcement, the name Phil Jones began trending on Twitter.
This spoke volumes to the concerns over handing Bailly a new contract.
Jones was given a new contract at United in 2019 despite a poor injury record, and has spent most of the past two years out of action. His last game for the club was in January 2020.
Bailly has had worse luck with injury than Jones. He has played just 100 games in five years.
By comparison, Jones has played 224 matches for United since he joined the club in 2011.
It is very possible Bailly never manages to overtake Jones’ figures, despite the years he has ahead, with his new contract containing an extra year’s option to extend to 2025.
Worth the risk?
Extending Phil Jones’ contract was self-evidently a mistake, judging by his declining quality and fitness issues.
There is a chance the Bailly deal backfires in a similar way.
And there is also the possibility it is a huge succes. Bailly is talented enough that it may seem to United, to be worth the risk.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer spoke about Bailly’s attributes when the contract was announced, praising his speed and aggression.
When fit, Bailly is outstanding. He has been a rock every single time he has been called upon in 2021.
Many supporters consider him to be United’s best defender, if fit, which is clearly a big ‘if’.
There is a case that he is the most talented centre-back United have had since Nemanja Vidic left, and United are not willing to give up on him yet.
This one could go either way, but the club clearly feel relatively confident that Bailly could reward their patience and trust in him.
Here is a look at a cross section of views in response to Bailly’s new deal…
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