Eric Bailly’s proposed move to the rapidly growing Saudi Pro League has fallen through, according to Sky Sports.
Dharmesh Sheth (Sky Sports) reports Al Nassr, who Bailly has been strongly linked with for large parts of the summer window, have pulled out of a deal for the United defender.
Instead, the Saudi club have initiated talks for Manchester City’s forgotten man Aymeric Laporte.
David Ornstein contends Laporte is open to the move with City having accepted Al Nassr’s opening offer for the Spanish international. Talks will continue but a deal is thought to be increasingly likely.
🚨 Manchester City accept offer from Al Nassr for Aymeric Laporte. 29yo Spain centre-back into final 2 years of contract + thought to be open to possibility. #MCFC willing to sell, with Saudi Pro League club #AlNassr pushing to get deal done @TheAthleticFC https://t.co/vTsZT2idii
— David Ornstein (@David_Ornstein) August 16, 2023
This represents a blow for United who are exceedingly keen to offload Bailly this summer.
A loan move to Marseille last season, which had included a clause for an obligation to buy, was ultimately unsuccessful, with the French club content happy to see Bailly return to Manchester at the end of the year.
The clause was not activated as the Ivorian had, staying true to form, not played enough games to trigger it.
Old Trafford officials have been attempting to clear the deadwood, as designated by Erik ten Hag, from a bloated squad which was high in wages but low in quality.
Outbound transfers have been as important a consideration for United this summer as inbound ones, with the club keen to further strengthen the team by raising additional funds.
Manchester United defender Eric Bailly unlikely to join Al Nassr after they turned to Aymeric Laporte.
Bailly now exploring other options. He had an offer from Besiktas, but has decided not to pursue that deal. #MUFC
— Dharmesh Sheth (@skysports_sheth) August 16, 2023
The Ivorian defender was considered a “must-sell” and was excluded from participating in the club’s pre-season tour, along with the recently-departed Alex Telles.
Bailly has a year remaining on his current contract at United, though the club reserves the right to extend this by an additional year.
His wages are reportedly in the region of £80,000 a week, which has proven to be a stumbling block for clubs prospectively interested in his services.
Besiktas were a club who expressed a concrete desire to sign Bailly, with the Turkish club reportedly even agreeing personal terms with the defender. Sheth asserts, however, Bailly has now “decided to not pursue” this option.
Much to the irritation, presumably, of officials at Old Trafford who have now watched three potential deals for the unwanted defender fall through in the space of a few months.