Eric Bailly’s call-up into Ivory Coast’s Olympic squad could end up having an impact on Manchester United’s summer.
United confirmed at the end of last week that Bailly has been called up to the Ivory Coast squad for the games in Tokyo along with Amad. The tournament will take place between July 22 and August 7, and the pair will travel well in advance.
In attacking positions United are overloaded. Amad’s absence will be disappointing but not critical. It’s a bit difference in defence.
Harry Maguire could end up playing for England in the Euro 2020 final on July 11. This will mean he won’t return until the end of the month.
Victor Lindelof will also be returning relatively late, although before Maguire, with Sweden reaching the quarter-finals. Bailly’s absence may hurry his return.
Speed up one transfer
Bailly’s absence is likely to intensify United’s desire to sign a centre-back.
This is already reported to be a top priority with ESPN reporting United are pushing hard to try and sign Raphael Varane.
Bailly’s status for the start of the season is suddenly a bit more uncertain due to his Olympic involvement. While Ivory Coast could be eliminated in a week, if they go far, he may only return to the UK a week before the season begins. And that doesn’t take into account complications from long haul flights, quarantine, and inevitable injury risks.
This only makes United more likely to be more insistent on a swift deal for Raphael Varane, or an alternative, to get a new centre-back in as quickly as possible.
Slow down an exit
It has been suggested Axel Tuanzebe could be sent out on loan, and this may well be in his interests. [MEN]
But United are less likely to sanction this one right away, with Bailly at the Olympics.
As it stands, Tuanzebe could be United only available senior centre-back for the pre-season game with QPR on July 24, with Lindelof and Maguire likely only due back the following week. Bailly will be in Tokyo.
Teden Mengi could already be out on loan by then, and while United could fill in the pre-season fixture in a variety of ways; games for youngsters Will Fish, DiShon Bernard, testing Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the role or even a surprise injury recovery for Phil Jones, it is really better if United have Tuanzebe available.
At least until a new centre-back is signed, Tuanzebe may find that thanks to Bailly’s absence, his own temporary exit gets held up until he returns.
Complicate Bailly’s own future
One option put forward by the MEN is that Bailly gets included in a swap deal for Villarreal’s Pau Torres, either as an alternative or additional move to the Varane pursuit.
This obviously gets a lot harder to conclude with Bailly off on the other side of the world in Tokyo.
It means realistically, barring swift negotiations in the next week or so, any swap deal with Torres and Bailly is not going to take place until mid-August at the earliest.
If this kind of swap deal seemed like a long shot before, it has now become even trickier to conclude.
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