Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd transfers: Ten Hag puts defender up for sale at ‘almost free’ value as leading suitors emerge

Manchester United are ready to sell Eric Bailly elsewhere after his loan spell at Marseille, according to a report that has revealed who is pushing to sign him.

Bailly’s seventh season as a Man Utd player was spent on loan away from Old Trafford. However, he didn’t do enough to convince Marseille to make the deal permanent. Now, the defender is looking for a new club.

Surplus to requirements at Man Utd, there is only one year remaining on his contract with the Red Devils. Therefore, Erik ten Hag has decided to put him up for sale this summer.

According to ABC, Man Utd will let Bailly leave for ‘almost free’ this summer. And the club currently showing the most interest in him appears to be Real Betis.

The Seville-based side currently have Ramon Planes working as their sporting director. Interestingly, he was at Espanyol in a similar role when Bailly was coming through the ranks there.

Planes is said to have kept track of Bailly’s progress since he left Espanyol in 2015 for Villarreal, where he spent a single season before earning his move to Man Utd.

Now, the opportunity may have arisen for Planes to reunite with Bailly by taking him to Real Betis in a bargain deal.

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Manuel Pellegrini’s side are currently searching for a replacement for Victor Ruiz, who will become a free agent within a couple of weeks.

Bailly, 29, could be the man to fill the void if he agrees to return to La Liga after seven years away. He previously played five times for Espanyol (after 21 appearances for their B team) and 47 for Villarreal.

He went on to play 113 times for Man Utd and 23 for Marseille, but neither of those clubs seem willing to have him among their ranks again in 2023-24.

Ahead of him in the pecking order at Man Utd would be Lisandro Martinez, Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw.

There are also rumours that Ten Hag will push for another signing in the centre-back position this summer. It initially appeared as if Kim Min-jae would be arriving from Napoli, but Bayern Munich are now competing for his signature too.

Nevertheless, the fact that a range of other centre-backs have been linked with Man Utd in recent days might indicate that it is an area the club are genuinely working on again after adding Varane in 2021 and Martinez in 2022.

Bailly never got the chance to make a competitive appearance under Ten Hag and does not appear to be in the Dutch tactician’s plans again ahead of the new season.

If the Ivory Coast international ends up at Real Betis instead, he would get the chance to compete in the next edition of the Europa League, a tournament he won with Man Utd in 2017.