The Ivorian says he won’t hesitate to explore other options if a starting role is not granted to him by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Eric Bailly has warned that he will be open to a Manchester United exit if he doesn’t play regularly next season, despite the fact he has just signed a new contract.
United invested £30 million ($42m) in Bailly’s talents when prising him away from Villarreal in the summer of 2016, and he enjoyed a strong first season at Old Trafford under Jose Mourinho, winning a Carabao Cup and Europa League double.
However, Bailly has been unable to kick on from there as persistent fitness issues have limited his overall contribution, with the 2020-21 marking his latest injury-ravaged campaign in Manchester.
What’s been said?
Current United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has chosen to keep faith with Bailly in spite of his injury record, as the Ivorian was handed a new three-year deal in April which ties him to Old Trafford until 2024.
Bailly has insisted that he isn’t bound to that agreement, though, and has vowed to explore other options if he is not afforded a starting spot in Solskjaer’s squad next season.
“Competition is always good to improve,” the 27-year-old told The Times. “I just say that I want to stay in case I get the chance to play. I don’t want to be a starter one game and a substitute for another five.
“If that happens I will have to look for another solution. The new contract is fine but if I don’t play I will be open to listen to other proposals.”
Bailly’s Man Utd record
Bailly has only managed to feature in 105 games across all competitions in his first five seasons with the Red Devils, recording one goal and one assist along the way.
The centre-half has just 20 appearances to his name this term, having missed a number of games through a combination of injuries and a positive coronavirus test, but he did start three of United’s last four Premier League fixtures.
Bailly says he decided to commit to fresh terms with the club after being given a vote of confidence by Solskjaer, as he added: “I spoke to him and he told me he wanted me to stay.
“The most important thing was not the renewal but the conversation we had: we sat down, we talked and he told me what he wanted from me and that he wanted me to continue.”
Will Bailly start in the Europa League final?
Bailly is in contention to retain his place in Solskjaer’s line-up for the Europa League final clash against his former club Villarreal on Wednesday night.
He has seen more minutes recently due to Harry Maguire’s injury-enforced absence, and is ready to step in again at the Gdansk Stadium in Poland.
“[Ole Gunnar] Solskjaer hasn’t told us anything yet but I’m in good shape and I hope to start against Villarreal,” Bailly said ahead of the showpiece event.