According to The Sun, Manchester United are in talks to offer Eric Bailly a new three-year contract at the club.
The Ivory Coast international is reportedly in talks to sign a new deal with 16 months left to run on his current contract, but there is still continuing speculation surrounding his potential exit out of Old Trafford.
The Metro has subsequently claimed that the offer is merely a rouse to sell Bailly on for a higher fee, and one would hope this isn’t the case given the defender’s series of gutsy displays in recent weeks.
Bailly has been blighted by injuries during his time at United and has had an extended period out of the team this season with a knock and a troublesome muscle injury, but remains a hugely popular figure in the United dressing room.
The 26-year-old was mobbed by his teammates after producing a superb block in the dying moments of the Red Devils’ 2-1 tense win over Aston Villa in January to keep out a Keinan Davis effort that prompted jubilant scenes at full-time.
But he has struggled to nail down a consistent starting berth in the side since his return to action, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer often preferring Victor Lindelof to play alongside Harry Maguire in the Premier League, accelerating the rumours that the Ivorian is on his way out.
If the speculation that United are offering Bailly a new deal only to offload for a higher price is true, then that would represent pretty shabby treatment of a player who has given his all every time he has donned the famous red shirt.
Ed Woodward should be doing everything possible to keep the £80,000-a-week colossus, who Solskjaer described as being “absolutely top” following a series of impressive performances at the turn of the year.
Gary Neville added to the debate in his analysis of United’s recent disappointing 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion, and he believes having the physicality of someone like Bailly is crucial to complement the qualities of £80-million-man Maguire to shore up their defensive frailties.
Strengthening United’s defence should be a priority for Solskjaer, but the solution to this problem could be right under his nose.