Friday, June 2, 2023

Manchester United Star Emerge As Potential Target For Spanish Giants: Should Ole Sanction The Sale?

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Jack O’Brien
A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.

According to El Gol Digital, Villarreal are keeping an eye on Eric Bailly. The Europa League champions are keen on shoring up their defensive options with the Manchester United centre-back emerging as a potential target. Villarreal are apparently monitoring the Red Devils’ pursuit of Raphael Varane, which will allow prise Bailly away from Old Trafford.

Eric Bailly’s Struggles At Manchester United

Eric Bailly joined Manchester United in 2016 in a €38 million move from Villarreal. He was coming on the back of a stellar campaign in La Liga, after being a vital cog in Marcelino’s Villarreal setup that reached the semi-final of the 2015/16 Europa League campaign.

However, his career at Manchester United has been halted by a series of unfortunate injuries. Since arriving at Old Trafford, Bailly has spent at least 15 spells on the sidelines due to injury, including a knee surgery in 2019 that put him out of action for almost six months.

Even when fit, Bailly has found it difficult to get regular game-time, especially under current manager Ole-Gunnar Solskjaer. He played only 915 minutes of league football this past season. In fact, the centre-back is yet to play over 1,000 minutes of league football in any of his last three seasons in the Premier League.

The arrival of Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire has indeed played a vital role in minimising his importance in the United camp. However, it was surprising to see the Ivorian extending his contract in April, with the new deal expiring in 2024.

Villarreal are keeping an eye on Eric Bailly - Ole should cash in on him.
AS Roma v Manchester United, ManU – UEFA Europa League Eric Bailly of Manchester United during the UEFA Europa League Semi-Final match between AS Roma and Manchester United at Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy on 6 May 2021. Roma Roma Italy maffia-asromavm210506_npwyY PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxFRA Copyright: xGiuseppexMaffiax

Should Ole Cash In On Bailly?

The upcoming season is going to be an important one for Manchester United as they finally look to mount a proper title challenge to Manchester City. However, it appears Solskjaer is keen on reinforcing his defensive unit, finding more competition to Lindelof and Bailly.

As mentioned earlier, Villarreal are closely following the Manchester club’s pursuit of Varane. The potential arrival of the Real Madrid defender should definitely play a vital role in deciding the fate of Bailly.

The Ivorian will naturally be expected to fall behind Varane, Lindelof and Maguire in the pecking order, minimising his chances of emerging as a first-team star for the Red Devils.

Manchester United, therefore, should certainly consider a permanent sale this summer. Bailly’s move to Villarreal will not only make sense from a sporting perspective but also provide the club with a slight financial boost, as they continue to further improve their squad.

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