Signed for £34 million in the summer of 2016, Eric Bailly looked to be a promising prospect for Manchester United. He had become a starter for Villarreal in Spain at the age of just 22, and seemed to have a bright future at the top of the game.
However, this was not to be.
Injury concerns started in December of his first season in Manchester, as he sustained a knee injury at the beginning of the month.
Since then, he has been in and out of the starting team, struggling to maintain match fitness and stay injury free.
The past two seasons have been especially difficult for the Ivorian, suffering from both ankle and knee issues and with yet another period of absence confirmed by manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer earlier this month, it seems that it could be time for Manchester United to sell Eric Bailly.
Should Manchester United Sell Eric Bailly?
There is no doubting that Bailly has fantastic ability.
Although he is a little maverick, and will take perhaps unnecessary risks inside his own box, he is a fantastic defender. His tackling ability is superb, and it has gotten United out of many a tough situation.
Even when he does take risks in the box, he tends to succeed, coming out of it with the ball.
He is loved by fans too, who enjoy this excitement every now and then.
This ability is what Jose Mourinho and the Manchester United scouts would have seen when he was playing for Villerreal. He looked to have real potential, but injury has prohibited him from getting as far as he could have done in his career.
The 2019/20 season saw Bailly play just 147 minutes of Premier League football for the Red Devils.
Fans started to get excited at the possibility of having the 26-year-old back in the side at the beginning of this season, and this was heightened after United’s defensive disasterclass against Crystal Palace.
This excitement, however, was short lived.
Earlier this month, United confirmed on their official website that Bailly would miss the next three to four weeks with yet another injury.
Not only did this provide United with a defensive blow, but it also provided a blow to Bailly’s hopes of success.
The Ivorian may have struggled to maintain a place in the first team due to injury concerns, but if he were able to put these woes behind him he may be able to earn that spot. However, this season looks as though it will be another of frustration for Bailly as he spends most of his time on the injury table.
Should United Sell Eric Bailly?
For the last two seasons, Eric Bailly has mostly been taking up wages while the Red Devils try to get him back to full fitness.
And with a salary in the region of £80,000 per week, according to reports, he is not a cheap player for United to keep around.
With that said, it seems that the most intelligent move for the Manchester side would be to sell Bailly either in January or next summer.
He is simply too expensive for the amount of time he is available for selection. And, with Maguire and Lindelof proving a solid centre-back pairing, the return of Axel Tuanzebe, and the promise of academy player Teden Mengi, there is no particular need to keep the Ivorian around at the Theatre of Dreams.