Newcastle reportedly interested in Eric Bailly

Manchester United defender Eric Bailly is apparently attracting interest from Newcastle.

According to the Transfer Window Podcast, Bailly is one of the players the Magpies are looking at as they seek to improve their defence to survive in the Premier League.

Newcastle have already been linked with Bailly’s United teammates Donny van de Beek and Jesse Lingard so far this month.

As it stands, it does not look like either midfielder is about to make the move from Old Trafford to St James’ Park, and there are two potential problems with any potential swoop for Bailly.

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No release clause

On the podcast, journalist Duncan Castles acknowledges that the lack of release clause for Bailly is a potential issue for Newcastle.

They are wary of being fleeced in their first transfer market and are trying to target players with release clauses in their contract or expiring deals.

Neither of those things apply to Bailly, who signed a new United contract in April, with the club seeking to preserve his transfer value.

In July 2016, Bailly cost United £30 million to sign (BBC) and the fact he signed a new deal without a release clause indicates they are not prepared to let him go on the cheap.

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

If they make it all the way to the final, Bailly will be away until the 6 February.

Can he really negotiate a major move away during an international tournament on a different continent?

It would certainly complicate matters if Newcastle firmed up their interest, and of course the same applies to any other potential suitors this month. AC Milan have already been linked.

Of course, there is also the concern about Newcastle’s perilous league position and whether Bailly would want to join a side in such grave relegation danger, so it is fair to say there is a lot to do if Eddie Howe’s interest in the Ivorian is going to translate into him wearing black and white stripes come February.

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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.