The Manchester United defender has been plagued with injuries throughout his time at Old Trafford but only signed his new contract in April
Raphael Varane in profile
Eric Bailly looks set to struggle for playing time at Manchester United once again this season, having only made 21 appearances in all competitions for the Red Devils last term.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer preferred a defensive pairing of Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof in most matches, leaving the Ivorian sat on the bench.
Even youngster Axel Tuanzebe was selected over Bailly at times last season.
And this summer United have bolstered their defensive ranks by signing Raphael Varane from Real Madrid for £41 million.
The World Cup and Champions League winner looks to be a surefire starter for Solskjaer’s side given his experience and pedigree.
That could see Bailly pushed back to fourth choice centre-back at the club.
The 27-year-old, who arrived at Old Trafford from Villarreal in 2016, extended his contract at United until 2024 in April this year.
Despite lengthening his Old Trafford stay, Bailly also spoke to The Times about his need to feature in more matches with one eye on potential new arrivals.
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He said: “Competition is always good to improve.
“I just say that I want to stay in case I get the chance to play. I don’t want to be a starter one game and a substitute for another five.
“If that happens I will have to look for another solution.
“The new contract is fine but if I don’t play I will be open to listen to other proposals.”
Bailly went on to make a mere five starts after renewing his contract on April 26 and that number is set to diminish further next year after the arrival of Varane.
The defender has spoken of his good relationship with Solskjaer, but whether that is enough to keep him at the club without playing time seems doubtful.
After signing his new contract, Bailly said: “I spoke to him [Solskjaer] and he told me he wanted me to stay.
“The most important thing was not the renewal but the conversation we had: we sat down, we talked and he told me what he wanted from me and that he wanted me to continue.”
Bailly has enjoyed time on the pitch this summer as he represented the Ivory Coast at Tokyo 2020.
The defender helped his nation to a win and two draws in the group stage, keeping one clean sheet in the process.
Patrice Beaumelle’s Ivorian side then bowed out in the quarter-finals on Saturday, losing 5-2 to Spain after extra time.
Bailly scored in that knockout game but was at fault for two of Spain’s goals after some clumsy defending and a handball which led to an extra-time penalty.
The defender posted on Instagram after the match: “Sad for being eliminated. We battled with everything we had. Proud to be a part of this team that shortly will give more joy to our country. We will try again next time.”
But with Varane’s arrival to be imminently announced, it could mean Bailly is forced to following through his promise of finding another solution.