Eric Bailly and Phil Jones have stated their intention to leave Manchester United teammates amid the club’s plans to sign a new central defender.
Bailly, 27, he started five games all season and felt so hurt by the lack of opportunities that he openly asked why teammates with poor results continued to start, primarily thinking of a center-back colleague Harry Maguire.
Bailly’s outrage over Maguire’s privileges came to light when he supported a possible degradation of United at Arsenal in a commentary on Instagram last month. Maguire was rejected but Viktor Lindelof retained his place alongside starting Raphael Varane.
Privately, United accept that Bailly’s three-year contract last year was a mistake when his previous contract expired this year. Sources believe this was a continuation of Ed Woodward’s contractual strategy of tying peripheral players to longer deals to increase their resale value.
Bailly has played 113 times in six years for United – an average of less than 20 appearances a year. On the morning of last season’s Europa League final, Bailly threatened to leave a month after signing a contract if he does not play.
Jones, 30, has started two games in the last two years but has recovered from a chronic knee injury and remained in shape for most of the season. Jones was named to 26 teams on match day and moved above Bailly in central back row order.
United are still interested in Villarreal and Spanish defender Pau Torres and have held investigative talks with Chelsea central defender Antonio Rudiger, who is expected to join Real Madrid when his contract expires in June.
Jesse Lingard is already sparking a lot of interest as he prepares to leave United when his contract expires next month. Juventus, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain and Newcastle are among the clubs interested, and sources say negotiations with the two clubs have already progressed.
Lingard, 29, has been looking for time for his United career after a tough three years and is not expected to change his mind if new manager Erik ten Haag tries to intervene late.
Former United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is primarily to blame for Lingard’s setback as he discouraged him from seeking a permanent transfer to West Ham United – who set aside £ 25million for Lingard – and then launched Lingard twice.
Lingard, who was upset that he was denied a farewell appearance at Old Trafford in the win over Brentford, believes there were ‘too many broken promises’ during his last season at United. Lingard hopes regular playing at the new club could revive his career in England ahead of the Winter World Cup.
Goalkeeper Dean Henderson also intends to leave United, either on loan or permanently, unless Ten Hague tries to become United’s No. 1. Ajax have been interested in Henderson, 25, on loan in the January transfer window.
Nemanja Matic has already announced that he is leaving United at the end of the season, and Juan Mata, Paul Pogba, Edinson Cavani and Lee Grant should also leave when their contracts expire.