According to the Daily Star, among other publications, Arsenal are set to battle it out with north London rivals Tottenham for the signature of Manchester United centre-back Eric Bailly in the January transfer window.
The Ivorian’s future at Old Trafford is in doubt after failing to start in the Premier League for the Red Devils since gameweek two of the campaign. Reportedly, the defender is set for talks with United over his future.
Promising start but has struggled of late
Bailly looked like the real deal in his debut campaign at United after joining the Red Devils from Villarreal in the summer of 2016. He looked strong and pacey, which are two attributes needed to be a top centre-back.
However, last season he struggled to find form because of injury problems. Poor form also led to limited minutes on the pitch in a United shirt. This season he seems to have gone from a favourite of boss Jose Mourinho’s to an outcast.
Is he any better than what Arsenal already has?
If you would have asked is Eric Bailly better than the defensive options the Gunners had in his first season, I would have thought you were mad. Bailly would have walked into the Arsenal team if he were still performing to the same level as his debut campaign.
However, if he was still producing the same level of performance he would still be a regular in the United team. The fact that Bailly has played just 20 minutes of United’s last ten Premier League games tells you all you need to know about his form. United have not been solid at the back themselves, yet Bailly was still not starting games.
Arsenal do need defensive cover in the near future, as despite a respectable unbeaten run, the Gunners have looked highly vulnerable at the back. Whether signing Bailly, no doubt for a big fee, would solve Arsenal’s defensive headaches is highly doubtful.
Need quality additions for a top four finish
As highly as anybody rates Unai Emery as a coach, we all know that it is going to be difficult for the Gunners to land one of those top four spots this season. Arsenal are currently odds of 6/4 to finish in the top four this season.
Without quality additions to the squad, it looks doubtful that will happen this season. To be honest I am not sure whether Bailly is the sort quality player that could help the Gunners progress in the near future.
Is Eric Bailly really a solution to the Gunners defensive vulnerability?