The centre-back has struggled for playing time this season but is confident that should improve

Eric Bailly is close to signing a new Manchester United contract after reassurances over his playing time, Goal has learned.

The centre-back has struggled for starts this season and, with just one year left on his current deal, his representatives had been alerted to interest from other clubs.

However, after discussions with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and United, the 27-year-old feels more confident he will be given a role to play and could sign a new four-year deal which looks set to be announced before the end of the season.

What has been said?

Solskjaer last month confirmed the club were in discussions with the centre-back over a new deal, saying: “Yes, we are talking to Eric and Eric’s representatives.

“He is keeping fitter for longer and you can see his performances as well and I have been very happy with him.

“His playing style has sometimes made him lose too many games because, 100 games, that is not enough for the period he has been here. He is getting more and more robust so yes he is one we are talking to.” 

When did Bailly join Man Utd?

The Ivorian joined from Villareal in the summer of 2016 and signed an extension in January 2020 to keep him at the club until the end of the 2021-22 campaign.

Bailly has only made 15 appearances for United this season with various injuries and, most recently, Covid-19 keeping him sidelined behind first-choice pairing Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire.

He has made 100 appearances in all competitions, a number which no doubt would have been higher had he not suffered serious injuries in that time.  

What does Bailly’s new contract mean?

A centre-back has been on Solskjaer’s summer transfer target list for a while, with the club keeping tabs on a number of different players ahead of the window opening. It is also understood they are keen on signing a centre-forward. 

Should Edinson Cavani decide to leave, the need for a forward will be further exacerbated and, with Bailly set to stay and United keeping more clean sheets, the need for another centre-half may not be as pressing. 

When asked about progress after the draw against Leeds, Solskjaer said ‘an additional two’ will help to keep his team pushing up the table. United are expected to be active in the summer window but budgets are still constrained due to Covid. 

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