Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Fear of protracted battle sparks compromise as player ‘says yes’ to Man Utd move

Steve Pearson
Man Utd defender Eric Bailly playing for Ivory Coast during AFCON

Manchester United defender Eric Bailly has ‘said yes’ to a proposed exit this month, though the Red Devils’ stringent demands could yet scupper a deal, per a report.

The centre-half, 27, does not appear to be in interim manager Ralf Rangnick’s immediate plans. Bailly is behind Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof in the pecking order. The return to first-tream action of Phil Jones has placed another obstacle in Bailly’s way.

Various reports have revealed Bailly’s unhappiness with his situation at Old Trafford over the last few months. He was named by the Daily Mirror as one of a number of stars seeking an imminent exit from their United nightmares. 

Prior to that, Bailly was named in November by the Telegraph as one star who had ‘openly challenged’ former boss Solskjaer in the dressing room.

As such, talk of a loan exit to AC Milan had begun to ramp up. The Rossoneri are eyeing January reinforcements following Simon Kjaer’s season-ending injury.

Transfer guru Fabrizio Romano recently confirmed Milan’s interest in a loan switch. He added that talks had been opened, but a final decision was yet to be made.

Not Italian outlet Tuttosport (via Sport Witness) has provided a fresh update on proceedings.

Eric Bailly on board with AC Milan switch

They state Bailly ‘says yes’ to the proposed move, though that does not mean a deal is straightforward.

Milan are determined to avoid being ‘entangled in skirmishes’ with United. Their stern demands have previously seen loan deals for Diogo Dalot to AC last summer and Anthony Martial to Sevilla this month fall through.

Manchester United defender Eric Bailly wanted by AC Milan

Manchester United centre back Eric Bailly is wanted by AC Milan but they have other targets from the Premier League

As such, a straight loan deal is now being lined up by Milan without an option or obligation to buy included. A loan with an option to buy – as Milan expertly negotiated with ex-Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori last year – was speculated to be their preference.

Nonetheless, United are reportedly determined to ‘collect as much money as possible immediately’. That would likely come in the form of a loan fee and Milan subsidising a large chunk of Bailly’s wage.

That leaves the move in a state of flux with Milan requiring good grace from United before Bailly can leave.

If United price AC out of a move, it’s stated the Italian side will simply ‘change objective’ to PSG’s Abdou Diallo. But for now at least, signing Bailly remains Milan’s preferred course of action.

The Analyst: Which teams do the Premier League referees support?

Ronaldo calls for Man Utd mentality shift

Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo insists it’sunacceptable for United to be aiming for anything less than a top-three Premier League finish.

Asked whether United could hope to close the gap on their top-four rivals without the correct mentality, Ronaldo said: “Impossible – I think it’s the main point.

“I don’t accept that our mentality be less than being in the top three in the Premier League.

“I think to build up good things, sometimes you have to destroy a few things. So why not – new year, new life and I hope that Manchester (United) can be the level that the fans want. They deserve that.

“We are capable of changing things now. I know the way but I’m not going to mention it here because I don’t think it’s ethical on my part to say that. What I can say is we can do better – all of us. Manchester (United) belongs to important things, so we have to change that.

“I don’t want to be here to be in sixth place, or seventh place, or fifth place. I’m here to try to win, to compete. I think we compete but we are not yet in our best level. But we have a long way to improve. And I believe if we change our mind, we can achieve big things.”

READ MORE: Rangnick flash point looming with Newcastle ‘offered’ intriguing Man Utd proposal