Eric Bailly looked on his way out of Manchester United after joining Olympique Marseille on a season-long loan deal last summer.
However, the 28-year-old may end up staying at Old Trafford as his move to the Stade Vélodrome hasn’t gone to plan.
Marseille had an obligation to buy Bailly with conditions but may not sign him permanently as he’s low down the pecking order.
The Ivorian international has made 17/38 appearances in all competitions for Marseille this season, but he’s started only 26.3% of their available games, amassing 21.9% of the available minutes (749/3420).
Bailly has endured injury problems, a lengthy suspension and stiff competition for a regular spot at centre-back, so it’s little wonder he’s started only four league games for his new club.
Foot Mercato even believe Marseille are limiting his playing time to avoid having to sign him in the coming months.
They are second in Ligue 1 and have the third-best defensive record this season, so Igor Tudor isn’t likely to change a winning team – Samuel Gigot, Leonardo Balerdi and Chancel Mbemba have been preferred in defence.
Bailly has started only one league game since early January, which was a 3-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain.
Erik ten Hag has Lisandro Martínez, Raphaël Varane, Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelöf, Phil Jones and Teden Mengi, meaning there are already enough centre-backs at United.
Bailly was considered surplus to requirements last summer, and it’s hard to see him being welcomed back with open arms.
He is out of contract in 2024, so the Red Devils may want to cash in on Bailly while he still has value rather than losing him for nothing next year.
Suitors are unlikely to be lining up for an injury-prone player, and United could end up being stuck with him.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com
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