Man Utd transfer news: Ed Woodward factors Eric Bailly into January decision

Man Utd: Eric Bailly flies in with two feet in training

Manchester United chief Ed Woodward is unlikely to pursue Dayot Upamecano because he and other members of the Red Devils hierarchy feel Eric Bailly’s speed makes him a brilliant centre-back patterer for Harry Maguire, reports say. The Ivory Coast international has started the club’s last three matches. And he’s impressed during that time, helping Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side challenge Liverpool for the Premier League title.

United have struggled at the back this season.

Maguire and Victor Lindelof have been fielded together for the most part but, in recent times, Bailly has returned to action.

The Ivory Coast international has impressed in victories over Everton, Wolves and Aston Villa – with players mobbing him on the pitch after his performance against the latter.

And The Athletic say United have cooled interest in Upamecano because of concerns over his mobility.

Woodward and other members of the club’s hierarchy are said to feel Bailly is the ideal partner for Maguire at the back because of his speed.

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And it’s unlikely United will attempt to sign the RB Leipzig star this month.

There are currently no plans to sign a centre-back this window, despite the Red Devils conceding 24 goals from 16 top flight matches.

And they’ll be hopeful that Bailly can continue his improvement as they look to win the Premier League for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.

Solskjaer hailed the 26-year-old African star after the match against Villa, saying: “You can see today his physicality, his pace and his bravery is second to none really.

“He’s got a style of play that’s caused him to get injured a few times and probably muscle fibers have caused some injuries as well.

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“You can see how much it means to him but also for the rest of the boys at the end of the game. Because he is such a well-liked player and man in the dressing room.

“Everyone wants him to do well and knows the struggles he’s had and we’re delighted for him.”

Solskjaer is refusing to get carried away with United’s current form, adding: “Of course, we knew how difficult it was going to be and you need to be playing well.

“We needed some margins towards the end.

“It shouldn’t have been that way. We should have scored [again] – because we created a few opportunities in the second-half with counter-attacks and did have the chance to be more clinical and finish the game off.

“Then towards the end, David [de Gea] makes a good save and Eric makes a fantastic block and we saw it out one way or another.

“Sometimes you’ve got to find a way to win. We could have managed the last 10 minutes better but we got it over the line.

“I’m very happy with the position we’ve found ourselves in.

“It’s such a big difference, if you look 12 months back. You lose the chance to be there or thereabouts in the first 10 games, you can’t lose the chance to be in the title race.

“For us now, it’s a good position to be in but we need to improve, need to get better, there are going to be many tight games but if you can win games like tonight it will make a big difference.”

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