A loan spell for a footballer over the age of 24 would usually signal that they aren’t going to force their way back into the club, but that’s not always the case. He’s been able to play occasionally when they’ve played with three defenders, but he needs to be playing to build up his confidence and fitness again.
Eric Bailly’s campaign was ruined by a nasty injury that he picked up at the start of the season, and it allowed Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof to cement themselves as the first-choice pairing at the defence. A good club won’t rotate their defenders unless they really have to, so a loan spell might be the best thing for Ivory Coast international.
Valencia are showing an interest in taking Eric on loan next campaign, and Red Devils might be open to allowing it. They also point out that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is a big fan of Bailly and the club triggered a two-year extension on his deal recently, so the prospect of a permanent deal sounds slim.
There’s no sign of an option to buy being included at this point, which suggests Man United want to see him play for an entire campaign, before deciding what to do with him next summer.
There’s always a fear that he might leave and be forgotten about, but if he does well then there’s every chance he can return and challenge for a first-team place. The Ivorian defender’s just 26 so there’s much time for him to improve and develop, so next campaign could be huge for him.