Manchester United are reportedly ready to have talks with Eric Bailly over a new deal – despite the fact the defender is out injured until January.
Bailly’s £120,000-a-week deal with United expires next summer, and the club are desperate not to lose the centre-back, who has been linked with Arsenal.
The 25-year-old is out until January with a medial knee ligament injury sustained in a pre-season warm-up match, while he also missed four months with an ankle injuty.
But Bailly could sign a pre-contract agreement with a European club in the new year, and United do not want to lose out after paying £26million to sign him from Villarreal in 2016.
It is understood there is an option in his contract to extend his stay at United by two years, and once fit he would provide crucial back-up at centre-half to Victor Lindelof and £80million world-record man Harry Maguire.
So, United are set to sit down for talks over extending Bailly’s contract, according to the Sun.
According to the publication, an Old Trafford source said: “The club want Eric to stay and are looking for talks about an extension.
“We don’t want to lose him on a free transfer next summer. It’s just down to both parties agreeing to everything.
“His injury record isn’t a major concern for us. We just think he has been unlucky with everyone over the last few years.
“Ole is a fan of the player and we’re going to convince him to stay, at least that is the plan at present.”
Maguire and Lindelof kept a clean sheet in United’s 4-0 rout of Chelsea in their opening Premier League fixture of the new campaign.
The pair struck up an immediate understanding and looked assured, providing the secure foundation for United’s attacking players to wreak havoc at the other end and get their season off to a flying start.
Maguire, 26, and Lindelof, 25, have the potential to develop a successful long-term partnership, with boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confident they can go from strength to strength.
“I hope Victor and Harry don’t give me a reason to change,” said Solskjaer, ahead of Monday night’s trip to Wolves.
“No injuries, suspensions or lack of concentration.
“They can both play, they read the game really well.
“Of course, Harry with his presence in the box, it’s great for any centre-back to have that presence next to them and I’m sure Victor will enjoy that.