Roma have opened talks with Manchester United over a move for central defender Eric Bailly, claims a report.
The central defender remains under contract at Old Trafford until 2024 with an option to extend for another 12 months. But Jose Mourinho is keen on a reunion with the defender, whom he worked with at Old Trafford.
In fact Bailly was Mourinho’s first signing when he paid Villarreal £30m for him in 2016. And now talks have begun between the two clubs over a transfer to the Serie A side.
Sky Sport Italia transfer expert Gianluca Di Marzio says that negotiations are now progressing. Roma are understood to be hoping to get Bailly on loan with an option to buy.
That on the surface may not seem a enticing deal for Manchester United. They are likely to prefer a permanent transfer, but they would at least save on the player’s wages on a loan deal.
Bailly was not thought to be part of Erik ten Hag’s first-team thinking, but the player has been used in pre-season. He managed only seven competitive appearances last term after being persuaded by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to stay.
The Ivory Coast star even signed a new deal in April 2021, but his first-team chances did not improve.
Bailly handed United lifeline
Ten Hag though has handed Bailly a lifeline and he was a half-time replacement in the wins over Liverpool and Melbourne. While he replaced Harry Maguire in the second half of the draw with Aston Villa.
He has certainly been in frame under Ten Hag, but it’s unclear whether his long-term future remains at Old Trafford.
The Metro claim Bailly is keen to fight for his place and that may well be the case, as long as Ten Hag is in agreement.
The Dutch boss has signed fellow defender Lisandro Martinez, while Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Rafael Varane remain key options. Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe are expected to be moved on, but Ten Hag still has a number of options
Mourinho has already lured Nemanja Matic on a free transfer from United. And a successful move for Bailly will se him follow in the footsteps of Chris Smalling.
Smalling has relaunched his career in Serie A having left United in 2019.