Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur

Premier League • England

Conte holds talks to sign Man Utd star; wants two new Tottenham centre-backs in Jan

Anthony Martial and Eric Bailly Man Utd

Tottenham boss Antonio Conte has reportedly held discussions with the club about signing much-maligned Manchester United defender Eric Bailly in the January transfer window.

Ivory Coast international Eric Bailly has played just 45 minutes of football in the Premier League this term. Indeed, he is currently fourth choice behind club captain Harry Maguire, veteran France star Raphael Varane and Swede Victor Lindelof.

The 27-year-old has often struggled with injury problems since his arrival at Old Trafford more than five years ago. In fact, Bailly has made just 17 Premier League appearances over the past three seasons.

Despite that fact, journalist Duncan Castles claims that Conte is a fan of the defender.

Speaking on the Transfer Window podcast, Castles says an offer is yet to be made by Spurs for Bailly but that Conte is interested.

He said: “One of the individuals they’re in discussion about, although as I understand it no offer has been made at this point, is Manchester United player Eric Bailly.

“He’s someone who Conte likes and was looking at as a possible recruit at Inter.

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“He is obviously one of the players who got the roughest handling from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, extremely unhappy with the way he was treated by Solskjaer, felt that it was ridiculous that Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof were continually selected ahead of him, almost regardless of what they did on the pitch.

“He actually expressed that after the Leicester City defeat.”

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No given that Eric Bailly will leave United

However, Castles does claim that Spurs will find it hard to sign Bailly now that Solskjaer has gone.

He added: “It’s not as straightforward now because Solskjaer’s gone.

“Bailly is not pushing for a move away, he wants to prove himself at Manchester United. He looks at the players there and believes he is better than at least two of the regular starting centre-backs and now will see if he can get the opportunity under a new coach.”

Castles also claims that Conte is pushing to land two central defenders in the New Year.

“One of the things he’s asking for in January is not one, but two starting centre-backs,” Castles said.

“At the weekend [Conte] started with Japhet Tanganga and Ben Davies in a back three, either side of Eric Dier, ahead of Davinson Sanchez and Joe Rodon.

“Conte feels it’s fundamental to improve at centre-back and get his five-at-the-back system working properly.”

Spurs are next in action on Thursday night when they take on NS Mura in the Europa Conference League. A trip to Burnley then awaits in the Premier League on Sunday.

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