Manchester United defender Eric Bailly is reportedly on AC Milan’s shortlist as an alternative to Croatian international Dejan Lovren.

According to a report by The Sun, who have carried out claims by Italian publication Tuttosport, AC Milan are keeping their options open, having been set back by Liverpool’s asking price for Dejan Lovren. The Rossoneri have thus, set their sights on Manchester United defender Eric Bailly, who has emerged as an alternative to Croatian international Lovren.

Bailly joined Manchester United from Villarreal in the summer of 2016 a largely unknown quantity. What transpired in the season that followed would have filled United fans in with confidence over a bright future of the central defensive department, as the Ivorian showcased a no-nonsense style of defending that was effective.

But, since then, it has been all downhill for the 25-year-old, with poor form and injuries restricting his game time considerably. In fact, over the last two seasons, Bailly has started just 29 games over the last two seasons and has subsequently been linked with a summer exit from Manchester United this summer.

Arsenal have been previously heavily linked with a move for the Ivory Coast international, but have been unable to swoop him away from Manchester United. The latest club to have emerged in his pursuit are AC Milan.

Will Bailyl get a new lease of life in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's first full season as the Manchester United boss? Or will he be on his way to AC Milan? (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Will Bailyl get a new lease of life in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first full season as the Manchester United boss? Or will he be on his way to AC Milan? (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

The Rossoneri are short of numbers at the heart of the defence. Alessio Romagnoli and Mateo Musacchio will be the only two centre-backs at Marco Giampaolo’s disposal when the season starts, with Mattia Caldara recovering from a long-term injury that will keep him out of action for the rest of the year.

With Cristian Zapata, Gustavo Gomez and Stefan Simic leaving departing from San Siro this summer, AC Milan are in serious need of at least one central defender, if not more. To that end, the Serie A giants have been heavily linked with Liverpool star Dejan Lovren.

But, the Reds’ £18 million price tag seem to have put Milan off, as per Tuttosport, (h/t The Sun), especially with the Croatian international also pocketing around £4.5 million per year. As a result, the Rossoneri have turned their attention towards Bailly.

With Manchester United reported to be on the verge of signing Harry Maguire, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will invariably have to trim his squad and offload at least one centre-back, if not more. While Marcos Rojo is touted to be in the firing line, a summer exit for Bailly in addition to the Argentine could make sense.

But, evidence from the short pre-season campaign thus far points towards the fact that Solskjaer could be willing to give Bailly a chance to prove himself before he takes a call on his Manchester United future. Meanwhile, his price tag is not known yet either, so it remains to be seen if he ends up being a cheaper alternative to Lovren at all for AC Milan, who ought to sign a centre-back soon.

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