Eric Bailly is concerned about his playing time as Manchester United as they await the signing of Raphael Varane, according to a report.
Bailly signed a new contract with Man Utd in April after months of speculation about his future. The Ivory Coast international sought clarification over the gametime he would receive if he stayed. United managed to convince him, but it appears they may be backtracking on any promises they made.
The club have agreed a deal with Real Madrid to sign long-term target Raphael Varane, who has also accepted personal terms. All that remains for the deal to be completed is a medical, although there is some confusion over when that will take place.
Either way, it seems Varane will be wearing red next season. It means Bailly will face further competition for a place that he has been unable to nail down before.
United spent a reported fee of £30m to sign Bailly from Villarreal in 2016. He made 38 appearances in all competitions in his debut season, but has struggled with injuries since. Last term, Bailly only made 12 Premier League appearances – 10 of which were starts.
Five years on from his arrival, he has only played in just above 100 games for United in total. However, they still reassured him of his importance a few months ago to get him to commit to three more years of contract.
Now, though, Bailly is concerned about his United future, according to ESPN. The outlet claims he will “seek clarification” from United about his role following the addition of Varane.
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The French centre-back will become the main partner for club captain Harry Maguire. Then, Victor Lindelof remains ahead of Bailly in the pecking order as well.
Thus, Bailly is “concerned” about his gametime. However, it still seems likely United will keep him around. Should all go to plan, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer expects to oversee a 60-game season for United, meaning he needs plenty of options.
The manager wants four centre-backs and it seems Bailly will be the fourth choice. Axel Tuanzebe, Phil Jones and Teden Mengi are all expected to leave (the latter only on loan), whereas Bailly may have to stay put.
Ferdinand has Varane belief
Meanwhile, former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has been speaking about the impending arrival of Varane.
Ferdinand feels anxious to see how Varane adapts amid his lack of English top-flight experience.
“On paper it looks a very, very good combination, but he’s got to understand the English game is very different,” Ferdinand told his FIVE YouTube channel. “You’ve got to go to Burnley and places like that.
“Sometimes it can be up and at ’em, a different style of football in the Premier League to anything he’s played in before.
“Can he deal with it? They’re the questions he’s going to get asked.
“Balls getting wrapped around his ear holes, crosses from different angles that he hasn’t seen on a consistent basis in Spain where they play more on the floor, slower football, slower build up.
“So he’s going to be asked to defend in a different way and that’s where he’s going to have to show his real class. Can he adapt? That’s the real question.
“I genuinely believe he’s got the tools to do that.”