Man Utd flop given easy exit route as Cristiano Ronaldo reunion on the cards in Saudi transfer

Ciaran McCarthy
Eric Bailly, Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United, November 2021
Eric Bailly, Cristiano Ronaldo animated celebration

Eric Bailly is reportedly a target of Al Nassr, and he could reunite with former Manchester United teammate Cristiano Ronaldo at the club, as he’s expected to leave Old Trafford.

Three players have left United so far this summer on free transfers: David de Gea, Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe. Zidane Iqbal also left for a small fee to join Dutch side Utrecht.

More departures are possible, with some defensive moves looking likely. One of those that may head out the door is Harry Maguire, who was recently stripped of the captaincy.

That decision has been perceived as an overwhelming lack of faith from the manager by former Red Devils star Wayne Rooney, who feels Maguire’s exit is “the best thing” for him.

The Englishman is likely not going to be the only defender that leaves, if indeed he does. Bailly, who spent last season out on loan, will be “allowed to leave”, with United willing to sell for a low fee, alongside Alex Telles, who’s been linked with Al Nassr.

Interestingly, Al Nassr could be the destination Bailly ends up at too.

Journalist Marc Mechenoua has stated the defender is ‘in discussions’ with the Saudi side regarding a transfer. He cites Ronaldo’s presence at the club as a potential reason for their interest, as it ‘can certainly be explained by proximity’ to the striker.

Mechenoua does not mention any talks between Al Nassr and United, so it’s unclear how much the Red Devils would want for the transfer, or how much the Saudi outfit would be willing to pay.

Indeed, it seems at this stage the only talks are on the personal side, between Bailly and the club. However, once those are ironed out, given recent reports suggested Bailly could leave for a low fee, an agreement may come quite quickly.

It’s unlikely the Ivorian will have many problems with the move. Having essentially been shown the door by United, after playing just 113 games in seven years, it seems fair to suggest he’s ready to move on from the club, with his spell there never really working out.

Reuniting with Ronaldo will surely be an attractive asset, too, and there could be a few former United players there if Telles is to join as well.

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