Man United: Solskjaer 'not surprised' at interest in Eric Bailly
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Manchester United defender Eric Bailly has been offered to Newcastle as a cut-price alternative to Lille’s Sven Botman. The Magpies had identified Botman as a target but the Dutchman – who is valued at £30million – is in favour of a move to AC Milan this summer.
Eddie Howe is looking to continue rebuilding his squad following the takeover by Saudi led group Public Investment Fund (PIF), with a defender amongst the club’s priorities. The new Old Trafford boss Erik ten Hag is willing to let Bailly go for a knockdown price, despite the 28-year-old still being under contract until 2024.
But with United willing to accept as little as £8.5million for their defender, the Magpies will have to try and strike a deal fast following interest from French sides Marseille and Lyon. The Ivory Coast international failed to cement a place in the first-team squad since his £30m move from Villarreal in 2016 under then-boss Jose Mourinho.
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His spell at Old Trafford has been hampered by different injuries and is now not in Erik ten Hag’s plans for the season ahead. United are prepared to lose £21.5m on their initial investment, although a source close to the camp says they would like to cash in on around £20m.
United handed Bailly a fresh three-year deal by last April to avoid losing him on a free transfer. “I’m very happy,” he said upon signing a new contract. “This decision is something I didn’t have to think about, I love this club and I love playing for Manchester United.
“I’m happy and so are my family, everything is good. Now the moment with my injury has passed and I’m fit and feel good, and that’s it. A new contract is like a new challenge and I’m ready for this.
“That’s why I say the new contract shows the group has confidence in me – the coach, the staff and the players and, for me, that is very important,” he said. “And that’s why I made this decision to stay at the club.”
Meanwhile, the Red Devils are keen to boost their defence and have been looking at Ajax’s Jurrien Timber and Villareal’s Pau Torres.
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