It is almost exactly a year since Eric Bailly signed a new contract at Manchester United, and his career at the club looks in a worse place than ever.
Despite being fully fit, Bailly has not made the substitutes bench for the past two fixtures.
ESPN report Bailly is ‘frustrated’ with his lack of opportunities under manager Ralf Rangnick, which has continued from how Ole Gunnar Solskjaer left off.
Bailly has no starts at all for United in 2022 and ESPN reports he is ‘looking to leave’ this coming summer.
Time to move on
The decision to extend Bailly’s contract appeared odd last year when United were clearly planning to buy a new first choice defender, landing Raphael Varane.
It smacked of the typical Ed Woodward approach to ‘protect the asset’ to try and maximise Bailly’s value for a future sale, rather than actually being a football decision.
United may attempt to meet Bailly’s desire by letting him leave the club this summer, but a club will have to be willing to meet his wage demands.
There could be a scenario where United are stuck having to loan him out again. His last appearance came for Ivory Coast against England, where he was substituted at half-time.
Bailly has started under Rangnick, twice in December, but after going to the African Cup of Nations he returned with an injury, and has since been unable to force his way back in.
This is despite unconvincing contributions from the centre-backs in front of him, and it looks as though Bailly will not have a role at the club next season.
United have been linked with buying defenders again this summer, with The Mirror reporting incoming boss Erik ten Hag is keen on bringing Ajax’s Jurrien Timber to Old Trafford.
For Bailly, 28, this summer feels like an appropriate time to move on and try a new challenge elsewhere, and the fact he is unhappy and keen to leave, at least gives this a chance of happening.