AC Milan are in negotiations with Manchester United regarding Eric Bailly’s potential loan move in January.

A recent report from Tuttomercatoweb has offered an update on AC Milan’s pursuit of a new defender. It appears the Serie A giants are in talks with Manchester United in their bid to secure a loan deal for Eric Bailly. The Ivorian centre-back has emerged as the ideal target as Stefano Pioli looks to beef up his defensive options during the second half of the campaign.

Currently embroiled in a tense title race with cross-town rivals Inter, AC Milan’s campaign has been rocked by the injury to defensive leader Simon Kjaer. The Danish international was ruled out for six months in early December owing to knee surgery.

In addition to Kjaer, Pioli has been dealt with another injury blow in the form of Fikayo Tomori. The Englishman has been ruled out for at least four weeks, leaving the Italians devoid of central defensive options. It has now accelerated the club’s pursuit of a new defender in January, with Bailly emerging as a top target.

It appears the Rossoneri are well aware of the Ivorian’s struggles at Manchester United, as the player has fallen behind the likes of Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof in the pecking order. Injuries haven’t helped his cause either, effectively restricting his game-time at Old Trafford over the past few seasons.

Manchester United's Ivorian defender Eric Bailly plays during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on April 28, 2019. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Time for a new challenge? (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Milan are now prepared to offer Bailly the opportunity to potentially resurrect his career by joining the club on loan in January. He will be expected to deputise for the injured Kjaer and possibly even emerge as a potential long-term replacement for Alessio Romagnoli.

With his contract expiring in the summer, the Italian international is likely to leave San Siro at the end of the season amid interest from Barcelona and the two Manchester giants.

Milan will hope to strike a loan deal for Eric Bailly with an option for buying him in the summer. However, it remains to be seen whether Manchester United opt to sanction the sale of the former Villarreal star, with coach Ralf Rangnick appearing unsure over his side’s depth in quality.

Bailly himself is reportedly keen on joining Milan, but the deal may entirely hinge on Manchester United’s whims. Perhaps a lot could depend on how the Red Devils fare in the market this month, having been linked with a move for Dan-Axel Zagadou and Armel Bella-Kotchap, among many other centre-backs, to help Rangnick add more depth to his defensive unit.

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