AC Milan targeting January swoop for Eric Bailly

Reports in Italy via TMW claim that Manchester United defender Eric Bailly is a target for AC Milan this month.

Milan wanted Sven Botman from Lille to bolster their backline but they have apparently been forced to give up hope of signing the Dutchman.

That has seen them turn their attention to Bailly, as well as potentially Manchester City defender Nathan Ake.

The report claims that Milan are looking at a loan deal, but it remains to be seen whether United would be open to a simple deal or insist on an obligation to buy.

Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

RONALDO NEEDS TO STOP WHINING.

Bailly’s season so far

Since arriving at United for £30 million (BBC) in June 2016, Bailly’s problem has been staying fit and establishing himelf in the side.

It has been the same story this season and he has made just seven appearances across all competitions for United.

Admittedly, his pre-season was disrupted by his involvement in the Tokyo Olympics but the arrival of Raphael Varane also shunted Bailly down the pecking order.

Bailly signed a new deal in April, and United will perhaps be unlikely to loan out Bailly so soon after that. They certainly haven’t got value for money from that extension so far.

Photo by KOHEI CHIBAHARA/AFP via Getty Images

AFCON a potential problem

Bailly is currently away at the Africa Cup of Nations with the Ivory Coast.

His involvement in the tournament will at least run to Thursday 20 January, the date of his final group phase match.

The final will take place on Sunday February 6, so Bailly could be on international duty throughout the whole of the winter market.

Can he really negotiate a move while his focus is on winning a major tournament for his country?

Jadon Sancho’s United transfer was confirmed during Euro 2020, but a lot of the groundwork for that deal had already been done prior to that point.

His international involvement could be a potential complicating factor, as could United’s loan demands as they tend to ask for a loan fee and wages paid in full to let any senior player out on a temporary basis.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.