Eric Bailly admits former Manchester United winger Wilfried Zaha tried to lure him to Galatasaray before the defender swapped the Premier League giants for Besiktas instead.

It speaks volumes about how far Eric Bailly had fallen down the pecking order at Old Trafford that Manchester United appeared to have few qualms about tearing up his contract and letting a defender who set the Red Devils back a cool £30 million leave for nothing. Thus, saving themselves £90,000-a-week in the process.

Melbourne Victory v Manchester United
Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images

Eric Bailly leaves Manchester United for Turkey

The long-serving Ivorian joined Besiktas on a free transfer last midweek.

A move which sees him join another one-time Manchester United misfit in the Turkish capital; Crystal Palace legend Wilfried Zaha putting pen to paper with Galatasaray earlier in the summer.

And, if Zaha had his way, Ivory Coast team-mate Bailly would have followed him to the Ali Sami Yen before he opted for Galatasaray’s black-and-white clad local rivals instead.

“I spoke to Zaha before I came here, I knew he was going to Galatasaray. And he wanted to bring me to Galatasaray,” Bailly explains, via Sporx.

“I talked more with (fellow Ivorian Didier) Zokora, who worked with Senol Gunes at Trabzonspor. He told me very nice things about (Besiktas boss) Senol Gunes.

“When I talked to Gunes afterwards, I felt confident. That’s why I chose this place. I’ve always heard good things about him.

“I saw Fred, with whom I previously played at Manchester United, go to Fenerbahce. And Zaha was also a player I played with. Playing here will be a different experience for me.”

Donny Van de Beek could follow in Bailly’s footsteps

Had Bailly opted to join forces with Zaha instead, he would have a reunion with his old employers to look forward to. Galatasaray are due to travel to Old Trafford in the Champions League group-stages in early October.

Donny Van de Beek, meanwhile, could yet become the fourth former United player to board a flight to Turkey this summer, the likes of Fenerbahce, Galatasaray and Trabzonspor reportedly keen on the seldom-seen Dutchman.

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