Man United ‘now accept that handing Eric Bailly a three-year contract was a MISTAKE’ after he publicly endorsed a demotion for Harry Maguire and threatened to leave if he wasn’t picked for last season’s Europa League final
- Eric Bailly signed a three-year contract extension at Old Trafford in April 2021
- He has been frustrated with his lack of game-time with six starts this season
- Bailly believed he should play ahead of out-of-form captain Harry Maguire
- The club have privately admitted that handing him a new deal was an error
Manchester United have reportedly ‘accepted’ that handing a three-year contract to Eric Bailly was a ‘mistake,’ as the defender nears an exit from the club.
The 28-year-old signed the extension in April last year, in which he said at the time that he aimed to remain injury-free and accomplish his dream of winning the Premier League.
However, it has been a miserable campaign for the centre-back who has made just six starts all season and has been behind Harry Maguire, Raphael Varane and Victor Lindelof in the pecking order at Old Trafford.
Manchester United and Eric Bailly are expected to part ways during the summer window
The Manchester Evening News have reported that United have privately admitted that the decision to offer the Ivory Coast international a contract extension was an error of judgement.
It’s said the deal took place due to former executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward’s strategy of ‘tying down peripheral players to new deals to increase their resale value’.
Bailly has grown disenchanted with life at Old Trafford due to his lack of opportunities and has been frustrated that out-of-form captain Harry Maguire has kept his place in the starting line-up ahead of him.
Bailly has been frustrated at his lack of game-time behind captain Harry Maguire
Bailly pled on social media to start ahead of Maguire against Arsenal in the clash last month
Those frustrations became public when he made a plea to start their 3-1 defeat to Arsenal ahead of Maguire.
Under training photos posted by the club on Instagram, a fan commented, ‘start Eric Bailly x Varane’, to which the centre-back replied: ‘please!’, followed by a laughing emoji and a pair of praying hands.
When asked about Bailly’s post, interim boss Ralf Rangnick said: ‘If it’s true what you told me, it’s not the right sign and should not happen in a football club, no matter what league.
‘I’m not on Instagram. Listen, I’m not talking about my players in the press conference not knowing what has happened, it doesn’t make sense. I can only tell you, never in my life will I be part of Instagram.’
Bailly’s issues at United go further back than that, as it’s reported that he made an ultimatum to the club on the morning of the Europa League final.
He threatened to leave the club, just a month after signing his three-year contract, if he didn’t start against Villarreal.
Bailly is also said to have threatened to leave United if he didn’t play in the Europa League final
Manchester United ‘accept’ that handing Bailly a three-year contract last year was a ‘mistake’
He did go on to start in what was a losing effort for the Red Devils, though part of that was due to Maguire only being fit enough to start on the bench.
Since joining the club for £30million from Villarreal in the summer of 2016, he has made 113 appearances for the club, scoring one goal.
Bailly has been plagued with injury issues since the 2017-18 season, which resulted in him dropping down the pecking order as new players arrived, and he recently has been left as an used substitute during games.
Though his contract expires in 2024, it’s reported that he hopes to leave the club during the upcoming summer transfer window.
Phil Jones is also expected to leave the club, as the Red Devils plan to sign a new centre-back under incoming manager Erik ten Hag.
At the time of signing his new contract in April 2021, Bailly told the club’s official website: ‘I hope I can be ready and I don’t get any injuries and to be strong and finish the season well. I hope to win the Europa League this season.
‘We will have more challenges next season – hopefully the Champions League – and, for me, my dream is to win the Premier League, that’s my big dream.’