Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd evolution continues with ‘decision made’ for Eric Bailly and Axel Tuanzebe

Axel Tuanzebe being subbed on for Eric Bailly

Eric Bailly and Axel Tuanzebe are two more of the players Manchester United will be bidding farewell to this summer, it has been claimed.

Manchester United have been announcing a number of upcoming departures over the past few days. There is now confirmation that Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata will be leaving the club as free agents. Even earlier, Nemanja Matic had also gone public with his intention to quit.

There will be several changes to the playing squad ahead of Erik ten Hag’s first season at Old Trafford. The incoming manager will have to craft a stronger and more committed squad.

After missing out on Champions League football, Manchester United need to rebuild. A key part of the process will be offloading out-of-favour or unsettled players.

While contractual situations have enabled the exits of Pogba, Lingard and Mata, there are players tied down to the club for longer who could yet be sold.

According to transfer reporter Fabrizio Romano, two defenders are “set to leave” the club. The players in question are Bailly and Tuanzebe.

Neither defender played a significant part in United’s 2021-22 season. Bailly signed a contract extension before it but did not get the increase in gametime he was expecting.

Ultimately, the Ivory Coast international managed seven appearances, all but one of which were starts. At the age of 28, he will have been wanting more.

Phil Jones and Eric Bailly forced out by Manchester United

Phil Jones and Eric Bailly forced out by Manchester United

Phil Jones and Eric Bailly will leave Manchester United this summer to pay for Pau Torres from Villarreal

As for Tuanzebe, there were 11 appearances, including eight starts, during a loan spell at Aston Villa. Then, he changed his loan to one with Napoli in January.

He failed to make much of an impression in Italy. Indeed, he never started in Serie A, only making two appearances between the league and Coppa Italia. Naturally, they have decided against keeping him in Naples.

Tuanzebe is out of contract with Man Utd in 2023. Bailly’s deal lasts one year longer. However, it now seems 2022 will be the year of their departures after all.

Man Utd loanee Axel Tuanzebe at Napoli

There are no details yet of where either player may end up. Yet it seems safe to assume they will not be playing for Man Utd again.

If their spells with the club have ended, Bailly will depart with 113 United appearances to his name. Tuanzebe, meanwhile, amassed 37 up to this point.

Another defender at risk of leaving, Romano reminds, is Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Diogo Dalot seems more to Ten Hag’s liking at right-back, so the Englishman could make way.

Now or never for Man Utd evolution – and Bailly and Tuanzebe know it

The time certainly seems to be right for all three players to find different solutions. In the bigger picture, this is the ideal moment for United to reshape their squad.

The arrival of Ten Hag means they need to find players better suited to his system. In the process, they can offload those they have been let down by, or vice versa.

Bailly is a good defender who needs continuity elsewhere. It is understandable why he is wanting to leave.

Tuanzebe is someone who needs to find a new home, since at 24 years old, he is not a prospect any more and has to settle somewhere.

Wan-Bissaka should also consider a step down in his career, which may help him get back on track.

In turn, United could fill the voids they leave by bringing in more suitable replacements. This is a critical summer for them; they have to get it right if they want to be back where they belong.

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