Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed that the club are in talks with Ivorian defender Eric Bailly over a new contract.
Bailly’s current deal is set to expire in 2022, and there have been doubts over whether he would be offered fresh terms. Injuries have plagued his time at Old Trafford, limiting him to a bit-part role this season.
Despite joining the club in the summer of 2016, Thursday’s 1-1 draw with AC Milan was only Bailly’s 100th appearance for United, but Solskjaer admitted that the centre-back has had to learn how to cope with his physical playstyle.
“We have started talking to Eric and his representatives so Eric is keeping fitter for longer and you can see his performances as well,” Solskjaer said (via the Daily Mail).
“I’ve been very happy with him. His playing style has made him lose too many games because a hundred games, that’s not enough for the period that he has been here. He is getting more and more robust.”
Whether Bailly will actually accept a new contract is a different matter. As it stands, he is United’s third-choice centre-back behind Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof, and he could fall further down the pecking order if United land the new centre-back they want in the summer transfer window.
The Red Devils have been linked with Sevilla’s Jules Kounde, Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane, and Villarreal’s Pau Torres, and any new signing is likely to restrict Bailly’s playing time even further.
However, in the build-up to his side’s meeting with West Ham United, Bailly told Sky Sports News that his sole focus is on thanking United for standing by him during his injury struggles.
“I want to do more for this club you know because in my bad times the club has helped me about everything and I’m proud about this,” Bailly said. “Now I’m going to keep training, keep focused, and get more games.
“I’m good, I forget every bad moment this year. I’m good, that is very important. Now keep going, keep training and focused, and I hope this doesn’t happen again. I am in a good moment now and I’m enjoying the moment.”