Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Marseille Wanted This Manchester United Defender On Deadline Day: An Opportunity Missed?

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Pratik Das
The youngest member of The 4th Official and an ardent Premier League fan who is basically obsessed with scouting young talents and is consumed by the idea of finding the perfect number 10.

Recent reports from French media outlet L’Equipe stated that Olympique de Marseille were keen on signing Manchester United defender Eric Bailly on the deadline day of the January transfer window as Jorge Sampaoli looked set to add to his defensive options.

However, Bailly was not particularly intrigued by the prospect of spending the next six months in France as he has his heart set on a move to AC Milan. AS Roma are also interested in the 27-year-old defender, with Jose Mourinho particularly keen on signing him.

Eric Bailly’s Spell At Old Trafford

Bailly joined Manchester United from Spanish side Villarreal in the summer of 2016 for a fee in the region of £30 million. Although Mourinho claimed that he has the potential to be ‘one of the best around’, it would be an understatement to say that injuries have hampered his career to a large extent. Over the last six years, the central defender has made 113 appearances for the Red Devils, with the majority of them coming in the Cup fixtures.

Manchester United's Eric Bailly
Manchester United’s Ivorian defender Eric Bailly runs with the ball during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge in London on November 28, 2021. (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)
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Furthermore, with the arrival of Raphael Varane last summer, Bailly slipped down the pecking order – behind the likes of skipper Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof. Hence, even though the Ivory Coast international has ended up staying in Manchester beyond the winter transfer window, there’s no guarantee about his playing time whatsoever.

A Missed Opportunity?

Manchester United are in dire need of a holding midfielder, but further signings aren’t possible without exits. While the departure of Anthony Martial, Donny van de Beek, Amad Diallo and several others has certainly taken off a huge burden from United’s books, Bailly should have been loaned out too, especially with Phil Jones deciding to stay.

Under all circumstances, Rangnick should have welcomed his departure.

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