According to talkSPORT reporter Alex Crook, he sees Manchester United centre-back Eric Bailly’s future elsewhere and thinks that the 28-year-old would favour a move to Villa Park, something which has been mooted in recent days.
With just two years left on his £80k-per-week contract, the Ivorian’s career at Old Trafford could be cut short to cover for the injured Diego Carlos.
Speaking to GIVEMESPORT, Crook claimed: “You’d probably think if you were Eric Bailly that Aston Villa would be a better move.
“I just wonder if Gerrard will be willing to take that big a risk on a player who’s had injury problems himself. But, if you’re looking internally, then he is probably the best and most accessible option.”
With Carlos reportedly out for up to nine months, Steven Gerrard will have to dip into the market once more to find a replacement for the summer signing.
The “perfect” option (in the words of Manchester-based journalist Rich Fay) could be staring the 42-year-old in the face, though, as the out-of-favour Ivorian (just three league starts in 2021/22) could revive his Premier League career with a move to Aston Villa.
A physical defender with speed and bravery, Bailly’s time at United has been marred by numerous injuries. However, there must have been something in him which piqued the interest of the much-decorated Jose Mourinho to bring him to Old Trafford in 2016.
During Bailly’s first season in Manchester, he was described by journalist Hesham Bilal-Hafiz as someone who “defends like a monster”. For a Villa team who often leave themselves quite open due to their free-flowing attack, such a defender is integral.
With a full pre-season now behind him, perhaps the 28-year-old could be ready for an injury-free stint to show the world the qualities that injuries have prevented us from seeing in recent times.
Only during the 2016/17 season did he manage anything close to regular game-time for United, appearing 25 times in the league. However, his average SofaScore rating of 7.25 from that campaign suggests that he can excel whenever he is fit.
Winning 64% of his duels, averaging 2.4 interceptions and tackles and making five clearances per game, he was a defensive beast during that campaign. If he could recapture such form with a move to Villa, he would be not just one of their best defenders, but maybe one of the best in the entire top flight.
If Gerrard can keep Bailly fit, he could have a readymade replacement who can step up, or even improve upon what the Brazilian may have brought to Villa Park were it not for his serious injury.