Arsenal and Tottenham are looking to take advantage as reports insinuate Eric Bailly is growing frustrated over his changed status at Manchester United.
The latest piece from Mirror regarding Manchester United throws another curveball. But, it is not something new. Eric Bailly is seemingly growing frustrated with his bench role at Old Trafford and could want out in the upcoming transfer window(s). Arsenal and Tottenham are looking to pounce on the opportunity in order to strengthen their own respective backline.
Eric Bailly had a thunderous start to life at Manchester United after joining from Villarreal in the summer of 2016. His debut campaign saw him become a starter and a key figure within the Manchester United backline as he ended the season with 39 appearances in all competitions.
The 2017-18 campaign saw Bailly become dominant. But, following an injury, Bailly found himself relegated to the bench, with Jose Mourinho preferring the pairing of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling. The start of the 2018-19 campaign saw Bailly regain his status of a starter.
But, his howler of a performance against Brighton saw Jose Mourinho drop him and go for the pairing of Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof at the back – a pairing that has proven to be solid, despite a few hiccups thus far. With Bailly on the bench again, and perhaps this time for good reason, the defender could reportedly ask for a change of clubs in the upcoming transfer window(s).
This is where Arsenal and Tottenham come in.
Arsenal already had Laurent Koscielny and Shokdran Mustafi on their books. But, Unai Emery chose to splash the cash on Sokratis while moving Calum Chambers off the books. Arsenal still have Konstantinos Mavropanos and Rob Holding as able options.
But, Mustafi’s struggles have already invited the ire of the Gooners and Emery could act on it once Koscielny returns from his spell on the sidelines. An agile defender like Eric Bailly could be the perfect partner for Sokratis as Bailly can cover Sokratis for his lack of agility and Sokratis can be the Vidic-esque presence that is needed at the back.
Tottenham, on the other hand, could look to beef up their backline with another defender. Mauricio Pochettino has three world class central defenders at his disposal – Davinson Sanchez, Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen. But, Alderweireld is yet to sign an extension and could be moved off the books, despite a change of stance in the recent interviews.
Manchester United are themselves looking to add a centre-back to their squad come January, with Raphael Varane top of the list, which could push Eric Bailly further down the pecking order.
For now though, this looks like only a rumour. Eric Bailly is unlikely to be unsettled after being dropped for a couple of games, which is justifiable after his botched performance against Brighton. It is very difficult to see Bailly asking for a move away unless Manchester United add another centre-back to the list.
And even if they do, there are players who will be ahead in the priority list of stars to be sold in the same position as Eric Bailly, which will again offset the arrival of a new defender. The interest of Arsenal and Tottenham might as well be present. But, Bailly asking for a move is a distant possibility at best.