Manchester United star set to be offered long-term contract

Manchester United flag. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
Manchester United flag. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images) /

The alarming signs were there at the beginning of the campaign, and then it got more obvious during the course of the season — Manchester United need another centre-back.

The Red Devils allowed two of their long-term players in Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo to leave, with no replacements being brought in. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer chose to keep his faith in the likes of Harry Maguire, Eric Bailly, Victor Lindelof, Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe.

It was a calculated risk the Norwegian had decided to take, considering the poor injury records of Jones and Bailly.

So far, it has paid off. Despite Tuanzebe and Bailly missing short spells through minor injuries and Jones being mostly on the sidelines, the Red Devils haven’t had to suffer from the lack of playing options, thanks to Victor Lindelof and an always fit Harry Maguire. And following his commendable performances when playing, Manchester United have decided to reward Bailly with a new long-term deal.

Bailly has been very good for Manchester United although his injury issues are a worry

As per The Sun, the Ivory Coast international is “in talks” with Manchester United over a new three-year deal. Eric Bailly’s contract was to expire in June 2020. However, sensing the possibility of losing him for free, as reported by the Standard the Red Devils activated a two-year extension clause in his contract which will keep him at the club till the end of the 2021/2022 season.

Having signed from Villarreal in 2016, Eric Bailly had a decent first season at United under the guidance of then-manager Jose Mourinho, winning a FA Cup and a Europa League title.

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Ever since that first season, his career has stagnated, with various injuries constantly interrupting his progress at the club. A fully-fit  Bailly would have surely made more appearances than what the Ivorian has accumulated, 98 matches in all competitions.

Bailly possesses the potential of being a regular in the Manchester United line-up. Some even believe that he is currently the best defender the Red Devils have under their ranks and could form a formidable defensive duo with Harry Maguire.

The combination of Bailly’s swift pace and Maguire’s robust physicality is what United need at the heart of their defence. It is as if they both complement each other’s game and play according to the other’s weaknesses.

Nevertheless, Solskjaer has been refrained from using both in a regular partnership, with Lindelof and Maguire keeping the starting berth in the Premier League week in, week out.

Perhaps Solskjaer has handled the situation very well by not rushing the 26-year-old due to his injury issues. It remains to be seen how soon Bailly could get a nod ahead of the other defenders regularly if he can put his issues behind him.

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