Arsenal have been thwarted by Manchester United in their attempts to sign defender Eric Bailly on loan during the ongoing January transfer window.
The purses are tight and the need is high at Arsenal right now. One of the priority areas is central defence, where there is an actual lack of depth, owing mostly to injuries. According to Daily Mail, Arsenal had submitted an offer to take Manchester United defender Eric Bailly on loan for the rest of the season, an offer that has been swiftly rejected by the Red Devils.
The report iterates that Unai Emery intended to take Eric Bailly on loan for the rest of the season owing to a tightened budget. The manager intended to insert a buyout clause which would enable Arsenal to make the move permanent in the summer.
Eric Bailly had one of the best Premier League debut seasons one could have hoped for when moving from another league to a top team. The central defender became a key player overnight at Old Trafford, with his ability to sniff out danger and aggression reminding the Manchester United fans of the bygone era of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand.
But, it has all turned out pear-shaped for the Ivory Coast international in the 2018-19 campaign. A disastrous start was followed by erroneous displays and inconsistent showings, which has continued under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The interim manager had given an opportunity for Bailly to impress against Bournemouth.
While he did put in an inspired shift against Bournemouth, a rash challenge almost near the halfway line saw him being given his marching orders, which put Manchester United in for a nervy final quarter of the match, even though they were up 4-1 at the time.
As far as Arsenal are concerned, Emery has his hands tied by a shoestring budget. In central defence, almost all of the players barring Rob Holding are back to match fitness. But, Laurent Koscielny, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Shkodran Mustafi have all shown a bit of inconsistency in their game.
Also, worth noting is that Arsenal are still in the UEFA Europa League. Fielding more or less the same centre-backs on Thursdays and on weekends might become too draining for the players, which is where a move for Bailly comes in.
This is not the first instance of interest from Arsenal as far as Bailly is concerned. The defender was on the radar of the North London outfit even during Jose Mourinho’s tenure, when the manager had a reported falling out with the centre-back.
It does seem like Eric Bailly is a prospect Unai Emery is interested in bringing over to London. But, for now, Manchester United are intent on keeping hold of their defender, especially when it comes to directly strengthening a rival in the top four race for the current season.