West Ham have joined two European sides including one UCL contender in pursuing an Eric Bailly move, though they all want a different deal to Man Utd, per a report.
The arrival of Lisandro Martinez has relegated Eric Bailly to fifth-choice centre-back at best. Harry Maguire and Martinez have started the first two matches, while Raphael Varane and Victor Lindelof wait in reserve.
Bailly is one of several defenders Manchester United are open to selling this summer.
Indeed, the MEN reported the Red Devils would gladly rid their books of Bailly, Phil Jones, Axel Tuanzebe, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Brandon Williams this summer via either loan or permanent exits.
The Daily Mail later stated West Ham were monitoring Bailly’s situation last week.
The Hammers are short on numbers at present following injuries to Nayef Aguerd and Craig Dawson. Angelo Ogbonna is still recovering from an ACL injury, leaving David Moyes with just Kurt Zouma as a recognised and available centre-half.
That led to full-back Ben Johnson starting their opening two matches out of position alongside Zouma. For a team that has another European campaign to juggle, Moyes cannot afford to be light in such a crucial position.
West Ham among three to make contact
According to the Athletic, West Ham have acted on their interest in Bailly by making ‘contact’ with Man Utd.
They’re not alone in that regard, with Ligue 1 sides Marseille and Monaco having also taken the same step.
All three are seeking a season-long loan deal and hope Man Utd will subsidise a portion of Bailly’s wages. His salary is deemed the main obstacle preventing an exit thus far.
However, the Red Devils prefer to sever ties completely and want a permanent sale.
Will Eric Bailly stay or go?
It is therefore a waiting game with United reportedly prepared to wait until deadline day before finding a resolution.
At that time, West Ham will have Ogbonna and Dawson back and their interest may have subsided.
Alternatively, if no permanent bids are lodged, United may relent and accept a late loan exit.
One factor that may work against West Ham in all scenarios is their inability to offer Champions League football.
Marseille finished second in Ligue 1 last term and earned a spot in the UCL group stage.
Unfortunately for Monaco, they had to run the gauntlet through the qualifying rounds after finishing third and were dumped out by PSV Eindhoven last week.
That’s relegated them to the Europa League, though that is still one better than West Ham who are in the Europa Conference League.