Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Koulibaly exit sees Napoli advance for Man Utd star Bailly amid Martinez deal, but Tottenham target also eyed

Eric Bailly, Chelsea v Man Utd November 2021

Napoli have made contact over a move for Manchester United centre-back Eric Bailly amid the Serie A side’s sale of Kalidou Koulibaly to Chelsea.

The Blues have made advances for Senegal star Koulibaly as they look to replace Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen. They have subsequently agreed a £34million deal for the 31-year-old.

Chelsea are also close to signing Manchester City star Nathan Ake. City are reportedly looking to replace the Dutchman, but Koulibaly’s transfer could spring a bigger chain reaction.

Indeed, Italian journalist Alfredo Pedulla reports that Napoli’s search for a successor is initially leading them to Old Trafford.

They have reportedly made contact over a move for Man Utd centre-back Bailly, who is likely to become available.

United are close to bolstering their own back line with Ajax’s Lisandro Martinez, who will cost £46million.

The Argentine will be new United boss Erik ten Hag’s fourth option in defence, alongside captain Harry Maguire, four-time Champions League winner Raphael Varane and Victor Lindelof.

That means Bailly’s future at Old Trafford is highly uncertain, with Napoli now looking to snap him up. The two clubs have already done defensive transfer business this year, with the Serie A side signing Axel Tuanzebe on loan in January.

Pedulla also reports, though, that Napoli chiefs such as president Aurelio de Laurentiis are keen on Kim Min-Jae as an alternative to Bailly.

The Fenerbahce centre-back has impressed of late, with Tottenham scouting him under director of football Fabio Paratici.

Fiorentina’s Nikola Milenkovic is a third Napoli target, but Pedulla reports that Bailly looks the favoured route as it stands.

Bailly could leave Man Utd

Bailly moved to United in the summer of 2016 as one of Jose Mourinho’s first signings at Old Trafford.

While the 28-year-old has shown flashes of his talent, injuries have largely held him back throughout his United tenure.

He has subsequently seen a host of players come in after him and enjoy better records.

Lindelof arrived in 2017 and has cemented his place in the team alongside Maguire.

Meanwhile, senior France international Varane was a marquee capture last summer and is looking to prove himself.

With it looking like Martinez is now moving to United, Bailly needs a fresh start elsewhere. And a move to Serie A – a league which he has yet to sample in his career – may suit him well.