There doesn’t appear to be any room for Eric Bailly in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s future plans at Manchester United.
The Ivorian has started just 13 matches in all competitions this season, with only four of those occurring since the current boss took over last December.
The campaign sums up what has been a disappointing spell at Old Trafford for Bailly, who was the first signing Jose Mourinho made at Old Trafford in the summer of 2016.
Although his £30 million transfer fee looked a potential bargain at the time, injuries and poor form have since left him struggling to earn any significant game time.
However, breaking into the starting line-up next term is likely to be an even tougher challenge.
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Despite Solskjaer having five natural centre-backs at his disposal, it is understood he wants to reinforce this position ahead of his first full campaign in charge.
Whether those signings would slot into his first XI or onto the bench, either outcome means Bailly has a difficult choice to make in the coming months.
Negotiations to extend his spell beyond the 15 months left on his current contract are at a standstill.
With that in mind, The Sun claims Bailly is ready to move onto a new challenge amid talk he is one of five players Solskjaer is willing to sell this summer.
However, the report also identifies Real Madrid as a shock contender for the powerful defender.
Bailly – a player whom Los Blancos wanted before he left Villarreal for the Premier League – is now considered a ‘first-tier option’ as they seek to strengthen their own defence in the off-season.
Three years on, Zinedine Zidane is thought to remain a keen admirer.
United will welcome the interest given its potential to enhance their efforts to lure Raphael Varane from the Santiago Bernabeu.
The Red Devils have been linked with a £70 million move for the French World Cup winner, though Zidane is understandably reluctant to give any thought to losing him.
“I cannot imagine a future without Varane and I don’t want to,” he said, per Sky Sports.
“He’s a young player, he has been here for eight years and he is doing very well. I’m not going to comment on what is being said outside.”