Manchester United have arguably just completed their most successful transfer window in recent history, but it hasn’t always been this way.
The arrivals of Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane have catapulted the Red Devils into contention for major trophies this season, something that previous signings were also expected to do.
One acquisition who has particularly disappointed is Eric Bailly. United’s previous manager Jose Mourinho brought the centre-back to Old Trafford in a £34.2m deal from Villarreal back in 2016 in an attempt to firm up his backline.
Did Woodward make a mistake buying Bailly?
However, things have not worked out for the Ivory Coast international during his time in the red half of Manchester.
Persistent injury issues have limited Bailly to just 106 appearances for the Red Devils during his five-year stay with United, and he has failed to start more than 11 Premier League fixtures in a single season since his maiden campaign on English shores, when he made 24 starts.
The likes of Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire have forced the now 27-year-old down the pecking order following the arrival of manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and the addition of Varane has only seen him slip even further out of contention.
Although he has shown glimpses of his top-class quality when on top form, Bailly’s unreliability has been a constant factor of his time at United, and departing chief executive Ed Woodward may have regrets over sanctioning his purchase.
With a current market value of just £13.5m, any future sale to which the 20-time English champions agree will almost certainly see them make a considerable loss on the fragile defender.
Bailly’s time at United is likely to be remembered as one of what could have been had his body not let him down, which is a shame given the talent he clearly possesses when fit.