Eric Bailly arrived at Manchester United with an impressive reputation.
Signed for £30million (BBC) in 2016, the centre-back racked up 39 appearances in his debut campaign. He also played a major role in United’s Europa League campaign, despite missing the final through suspension.
Given his age, Bailly was only expected to get better. But, at only 24, he looks to be on borrowed time at Old Trafford.
Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof are United’s first-choice pairing these days. While Phil Jones recently signed a new long-term contract (manunited.com).
With talk rife that United will bring in another defender this summer, Bailly looks like the odd one out. But that would be a shame because he is far better than his recent outings suggest.
Bailly was woeful against Paris Saint-Germain. Yet he was picked out of position against one of the best attacking wide men in Europe.
Bailly’s confidence was shot under Jose Mourinho. And he is one of the few United players yet to be rejuvenated under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. But, with patience, his time will come.
Some rash tackles certainly don’t help. He was impressing against Bournemouth before a pointless red card led to a three-match suspension.
That was the time to stake his claim under Solskjaer. Instead he watched from the side-lines, ruing a missed opportunity.
Many United fans see Jones as an accident waiting to happen. And it would be foolish to keep the England man but lose Bailly who, in time, could become one of Europe’s top defenders.