Eric Bailly might as well pack his bags right now. His Manchester United career appears to be grinding to a halt.
The Ivorian has not started a single game for the Red Devils in 2022, and last night, his closest opportunity passed him by.
With Raphael Varane out injured, United’s desire to go to a back three seemingly set Bailly up for a return.
What he did not count on, was Phil Jones being selected in his place. There was no fitness issue, Bailly was on the bench. It was just a straight snub.
Ralf Rangnick explained that Jones’ previous start for United, at home to Wolves in January (his first start at the time since 2020) gave him confidence to select him over Bailly.
The manager told MUTV: “He should be an important part of our backline. He played well in that position against Wolverhampton. I had to decide between him and Eric Bailly and that’s why I went for him.”
It got worse, because even when Jones was taken off at half-time, Rangnick chose to shift formation to a back four and bring on an attacker, rather than use Bailly.
This was the latest crushing snub to Bailly, who has barely played all season. He was continually overlooked by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, before playing a couple of times under Rangnick before going to the AFCON and returning with a minor injury.
Bailly though has been fit for the past month, and has simply been cast aside. Below Jones in the pecking order, he is officially Manchester United’s fifth choice centre-back.
This was not what Bailly had in mind when he signed his new contract last April. It seemed a naive move at the time considering United planned to sign a new defender, and so it has proved.
Even the woeful form of club captain Harry Maguire has not offered Bailly a way back into the first team.
While the latest manager to snub Bailly, Ralf Rangnick, will be replaced in the summer, incoming manager Erik ten Hag is being tipped to bring in his own man.
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The Mirror report Ten Hag wants to sign Ajax defender Jurrien Timber, a young up and coming Netherlands international.
Bailly was signed for £30 million by former boss Jose Mourinho back in 2016. After a strong first season, injuries and inconsistency have prevented him from reaching his potential.
ESPN reported last week that Bailly was ‘frustrated’ over his lack of game time and is ‘looking to leave’ this summer.
If his agent is not already on the phone to potential clubs, it would be a shock. After the latest snub he endured last night, Bailly’s career at the club is effectively done.