According to the Mirror, Arsenal are among the clubs monitoring the situation with Manchester United’s Eric Bailly.
Bailly signed for United in the summer of 2016 after a successful spell with Spanish side Villareal lasting a year and a half. Before that he played for Espanyol. He has made a total of 60 appearances for the Red Devils so far and had been praised for a while as their best defender.
However, after United’s shaky start to the season, he has fallen down the pecking order having put in a few questionable performances, and manager Jose Mourinho is now favoring the duo of Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof in the absence of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo. Bailly’s place is currently on the bench.
The situation has put both Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur on ‘red alert’ for a possible January move, apparently. Both Unai Emery and Mauricio Pochettino are said to be holding the Ivorian in high esteem.
However, United signed the 24-year-old for a reported fee of £30 million, and given this isn’t the last year of his contract, they aren’t very likely to let him go for anything less than that. If this summer is anything to go by, Arsenal aren’t very likely to spend that kind of money on a defender just yet. They may be prepared to consider moving in for him next summer if the situation still exists by then, as his contract runs until 2020 and the price might drop.
As for facing competition from the North-London neighbours, the Gunners would certainly need to return to the Champions League in order to get an even ground, especially as United have by all accounts expressed strong interest in Spurs’ Toby Alderweireld. Though swap deals rarely happen in the Premier League, Alexis Sanchez leaving the Emirates for Old Trafford in exchange for Henrikh Mkhitaryan proves that they do happen.
Be that as it may, Bailly would arguably represent an upgrade on the current crop of centre-backs at Arsenal (apart from the injured Laurent Koscielny maybe), and adding him to the squad would certainly make sense.