Defender Eric Bailly is out of the picture at Manchester United.
When Manchester United snapped up Eric Bailly from Villarreal in 2016, many believed that Jose Mourinho would help him develop into the next Raphael Varane; a centre back with blistering pace who could become a star in the years to come.
However, £75,000-a-week talent Bailly hasn't really lived up to those expectations. Yes, injuries have played their part in the Ivorian's current situation – sitting in the stands – but Mourinho does also appear to have simply grown tied of the centre back.
As Victor Lindelof and Chris Smalling – two centre backs hugely criticised during their time at Old Trafford – lined up for Saturday's home game with Crystal Palace, Bailly wasn't even named in the squad. Phil Jones made the bench ahead of him.
There have been murmurings from ESPN that, if Bailly isn't playing more regularly by January, then he will look to leave the club. With one Premier League start since the defeat at Brighton on September 2nd, and no Premier League appearance since the 6th of October, Bailly would be forgiven for planning his escape now.
Now, Mourinho has addressed the situation. The beleaguered Red Devils boss has suggested to the MEN that he won't be starting Bailly in the Premier League as he wants a partnership that don't get injured much, and the fact that Jones made the bench ahead of him shows that Bailly is now just fourth-choice at Old Trafford.
This comes after The Mirror claimed just weeks ago that Bailly was a target for Spurs; after all, Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino worked with the 24-year-old at Espanyol, and a reunion may make some sense.
Mourinho's latest comments, confirming that Bailly won't be back in the United starting line-up for Premier League games soon, may just leave him desperate to join Spurs and kick on under Pochettino, whilst also reuniting with friend and Ivorian international teammate Serge Aurier.
Even with Mourinho seemingly having no immediate use for Bailly other than depth at the back, a move to Spurs still has some roadblocks; United will be reluctant to sell to a direct rival, and Spurs have four centre backs in Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Davinson Sanchez and Juan Foyth.
Bailly may just be hoping that Alderweireld moves on, as many expect him to, and United somehow agree to let him go to North London, where he would surely receive more playing time under his former boss, having seemingly fallen out of Mourinho's good books this season.
Have something to tell us about this article?