Can Eric Bailly make a comeback at Manchester United?


Eric Bailly has failed to progress since his first season at Manchester United. Can the centre-back turn things around, or is his time at Old Trafford over already?

In his first season at Manchester United, Eric Bailly looked like the real deal.

The centre-back arrived at Old Trafford from Villarreal for around £30million in 2016, and although he wasn’t the highest profile signing United made that summer, he ended up being one of the most important.

Bailly was ruthless in defence, constantly making blocks and last-ditch tackles, and although United finished 6th in the Premier League that season, he was instrumental in their Europa League victory.

However, since then, the Ivory Coast international has failed to deliver the consistency he showed during his debut campaign.

In the following two seasons, Bailly has missed countless games due to injury and suspension, and when he does play, he hasn’t shown the same tenacity as he did when he first arrived at United.

Victor Lindelof, who arrived a year after Bailly, has been the exact opposite. The centre-back signed for a similar transfer fee from Benfica but was poor in his first season at the club.

However, the Sweden international has since turned things around and is easily the best defender at the club right now.

Fans have been dying for Bailly to partner Lindelof in defence, but in the few opportunities they have had playing alongside each other, the former has been a liability.

Does this mean that Bailly will have to make way for a new centre-back signing this summer? Maybe.

The Red Devils have been linked with a number of defenders this summer, such as Ajax’s Matthijs de Ligt and Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly.

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Either of these two defenders would be an instant improvement over Bailly – who may have to be sold this window in order to free up the necessary funds to acquire them.

However, I’d urge Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to keep Bailly around. Although the 25-year-old has been abysmal in recent games, he still has the potential to be a top defender, as seen by his performances in the 2016-17 campaign.

Instead, Solskjaer should sell the likes of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, as although they are more consistent than Bailly, they will never get any better than they are now – which isn’t good enough for a club like United.

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