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Eric Bailly’s loan spell at Marseille proving a disaster

Manchester United defender could cause Erik ten Hag headache next season

by David O'Neill
Eric Bailly

Eric Bailly has endured a torrid time out on loan at Olympique Marseille and calls from pundits to do everything possible to avoid his deal becoming permanent.

On such pundit, Jean-Charles de Bono, believes that the Ivorian would be a poor move keeping him owing to his appalling injury record.

“If they finish second and you have to keep him on a big salary for the next two years, it’s going to be difficult,” Bono told Football Club de Marseille.

Today, it would not be a good move for OM. Then again, I don’t know if he’ll have fewer injuries next season, or he regains all his feelings. It could then be something else entirely. But today, when we talk about it, Bailly is not a good move for OM.

“I think that in the mind of our manager Igor Tudor, he is not one of the priorities. Bailly takes himself a bit for someone else, a bit like Tavares. We hope that this story of a mandatory purchase option if we finish second is fake news.”

The clause De Bono is referring to stipulates that Marseille’s €10m option to buy would become mandatory if Bailly plays in half of their league fixtures, or if the Ligue 1 side qualifies directly for the Champions League.

But, as De Bono points out, the central defender’s injury record has been poor for years and has shown no sign of slowing down this season.

“Since joining Manchester United, he has played very few games due to numerous injuries,” he said. “It’s not going to get any better, since he’s getting older every year.

“The body ages and deteriorates at the same time as all its wounds which slow it down. You try to compensate right to left. When you’re a player, you think about all this, saying to yourself ‘if I do that, I can fart again.’ So it remains fragile.”

De Bono also voiced concerns over Bailly’s personality, suggesting that the Ivory Coast star was perhaps a little too big for his boots.

“It seems to me that Bailly had said in an interview that it was not sure that he would stay at OM,” he remarked.

“That he saw himself going back to Spain. The problem is that Bailly does not play for OM, so where is he going to play?”

Given Bailly’s £100,000-a-week contract, it is difficult to think of any club that would be willing to take a gamble on the defender.

He has had some shocking performances this season – most notably in a recent 3-0 loss against Paris Saint-Germain – to go with his extended periods of absence via injury, and his rash tackling leading to a lengthy suspension.

It is currently looking very likely that Erik ten Hag will be forced to integrate Bailly into his squad next season. Either that or the club will need to pay his wages just to play somewhere else until his contract runs out in summer 2024.

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