Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd star told he’ll struggle to match Arsenal ace’s high standards, with transfer on the brink

Arsenal pair William Saliba and Gabriel Jesus

Eric Bailly will struggle to fill the void left by an Arsenal sensation upon completing his imminent Man Utd exit, according to one football expert.

Bailly is closing in on a move to Marseille that could wind up being permanent. The 28-year-old was signed by Manchester United for £30m in 2016, though injuries and inconsistent form have blighted his Old Trafford stay.

Six years on, Bailly’s time is coming to an end. Indeed, Fabrizio Romano was among those to report the Ivory Coast centre-half has agreed a loan move to Marseille that contains a conditional obligation to buy.

That clause will be triggered pending Marseille’s qualification to next season’s Champions League, per the Telegraph.

The newspaper also added an unspecified number of appearances must also be made, along with naming four more United stars who could make way before the September 1 deadline.

Should Bailly’s targets be met, he’ll reportedly be signed for just £5.9m next summer. Romano subsequently reported the figure is actually £8.45m, though in either case, it represents a huge loss on the £30m United paid Villarreal.

Bailly has already been pictured in Marseille today (Wednesday) where he’s undergoing a medical. Once passed, official confirmation will quickly follow.

Bailly will fill the void left by Arsenal ace William Saliba. Mikel Arteta has chosen to keep the Frenchman around this season and his decision has already been vindicated.

Indeed, Saliba has been a clear stand-out across the opening three weeks, though that should not come as a surprise.

Saliba excelled while on loan at Marseille last season, earning a place in the Ligue 1 team of the year. He also scooped the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year award.

Saliba leaves big shoes to fill

Now, speaking on Sky Sports News, French football expert, Jonathan Johnson, ran the rule over Bailly’s move.

“Manchester United defender Eric Bailly is on his way to the club and will do his medical before signing his contract,” said Johnson.

“It’ll be a big boost to Marseille having lost William Saliba and Boubacar Kamara. It left a big hole in the Marseille side.

“With a new manager thrown into the mix in Igor Tudor, this will be a different team in this year’s Champions League competition. Bailly comes in with a lot of pedigree, experience and ability.

“I’m not sure he’ll live up to the high standards of Saliba, but it’s a good signing all the sign.”

Could Ronaldo join Bailly in Marseille?

Bailly may yet be joined in the south of France by Cristiano Ronaldo.

The wantaway striker craves Champions League football, something Marseille have and United don’t.

Johnson claimed talk of Ronaldo to Marseille is bubbling up nicely, though admitted the move is very difficult to make.

To help Igor Tudor’s side overcome the hurdles, a series of exits may first be required. According to Fabrizio Romano, that’s exactly what’s about to happen.

He reported Arkadiusz Milik is closing in on a loan-to-buy move to Juventus. The transfer guru also claimed midfielder Kevin Strootman is poised to join Genoa.

In that respect at least, Marseille do appear to be clearing the deck for something substantial.