Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd outcast set for surprise summer return as ‘mystery’ is set to cause Ten Hag headache

Ben Stewart
Eric Bailly and Dean Henderson of Manchester Utd. FC during the first leg of round of 32 of UEFA Europa League between Real Sociedad and Manchester United FC at Juventus Stadium on February 18, 2021

Eric Bailly and Dean Henderson of Manchester United

Manchester United are expected to be busy in the summer transfer window and they could also see an unlikely star return at the end of the season.

Erik ten Hag now has his feet well under the table at Old Trafford and he will already have one eye on the upcoming transfer window.

Fresh reports have claimed that Eric Bailly could return to Man Utd next season, despite Marseille holding the option to make the signing permanent.

The 28-year-old was deemed surplus to requirements under Ten Hag and he has spent the season out on loan in France. In total, he has made 17 appearances, with 11 of those coming in the league.

French outlet Foot Mercato are now reporting that there is a ‘mystery’ surrounding the player. Bailly didn’t start in Marseille’s latest game against Reims, despite a shortage in his position.

Midfielder Valentin Rongier was given the nod over Bailly at the back. This is reportedly because Marseille want to avoid meeting the clauses which will force them to purchase the defender.

The first clause is that they must qualify for the Champions League. As they currently sit in second place behind Paris Saint-Germain, this looks likely to happen.

The second clause is that Bailly must appear in at least 50% of Ligue 1 games for Marseille. So in order to not trigger a permanent deal, Igor Tudor has been instructed to use Bailly sparingly.

A permanent deal would have cost the French side £6million, but they are instead considering alternative options for the summer.

What next for Bailly?

Despite Marseille not wanting to turn his loan deal permanent, it is unlikely that he will be sticking around at Old Trafford.

Ten Hag seems settled on the partnership between Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane. On top of this, the likes of Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof are ahead of Bailly in the pecking order.

The 28-year-old has made 113 appearances for Man Utd, although injuries have often hampered his game time. During the 2021-22 season, he made just four league appearances.

Along with Bailly, the future of Maguire and Lindelof is also up in the air. Fresh reports have claimed that Man Utd would be willing to sell the duo in the summer.

Maguire has been back in the picture for Man Utd recently, although he is likely to want regular game time next season.

When asked about Maguire’s development, Ten Hag told reporters, “I’m really happy with the progress that Harry is making in this moment.

“He’s more dominant and dictating, he’s taking more initiative on the training pitch and I think also in the Real Betis game, he showed leadership, especially in those aspects of initiative and dictating of the game.”

Man Utd are expected to sign another defender in the summer and they could raise some funds through selling the likes of Maguire and Bailly.

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