Manchester United defender Eric Bailly has warned that he is prepared to listen to offers from others clubs if he is not a regular starter next season, despite recently agreeing a new long-term contract at Old Trafford until at least 2024.
United have long been on the hunt for a new centre-back to partner with Harry Maguire next season and beyond, putting the future of both Bailly and Victor Lindelof in doubt.
However, the Ivory Coast international opted to sign a new deal in April after receiving assurances from the club, although he has now stressed that he won’t be satisfied if he is predominantly left on the bench and will look to leave if that happens.
“I spoke to [Ole Gunnar Solskjaer] and he told me he wanted me to stay,” Bailly told The Times.
“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.”
United have been heavily linked with a centre-back this summer. Raphael Varane, Pau Torres and Jules Kounde are the top names on the radar, but the arrival of any one of them could seriously hamper Bailly’s playing chances.
He welcomes competition for places but is adamant that he wants to be playing.
“Competition is always good to improve. 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,” Bailly explained.
“The new contract is fine but, if I don’t play, I will be open to listen to other proposals.”
Injuries have largely been responsible for Bailly playing just 105 times for United in five seasons since his £30m arrival from Villarreal in the summer of 2016. But he is fit and in contention to feature against his former club in the Europa League final this week.
The 27-year-old faces a battle for selection with Axel Tuanzebe to start alongside Lindelof.