2018-19 Season Ending Player Review: Eric Bailly

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It’s time to analyze what happened during the 2018-19 season for Manchester United. And for that, we will go checking each players individually to rate their performances, give a brief summary of what happened over the course of the campaign, and assess the role of the player in the upcoming campaign — if he stays with the club:

Let’s continue with Eric Bailly. The former Villarreal standout was once call “the next Rio Ferdinand”, but that seems to be a thing of the past now. He barely saw action for the club over the 2018-19 campaign, and his future at Old Trafford could be in question going forward. Especially knowing the transfer activity will increase in the coming weeks.

Appearances across all competitions

The Ivorian barely played for Manchester United this past season and only registered 12 Premier League appearances. He made six more starts at the Cup level, with four coming in the UEFA Champions League and one in each the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup. He didn’t score or registered an assist, while picking up two yellow cards and one red card overall.

Did he perform above or below the expectations?

It’s hard to call Bailly a disappointment since most of his absences were injury-related. However, the former Villarreal defender didn’t look good when given the chance. Both Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gave him playing time, but he often looked unfit, inaccurate and lacked sharpness overall.

Sure, all these issues could have been related to the fact that he spent most of the campaign on the sidelines. But he was clearly below the pre-season expectations. Let’s not forget Bailly was considered a long-term building block nearly two years ago. However, now he’s barely the third-best or fourth-best centre-back on the squad. Most of that drop on the pecking order can be attributed to his poor form.

Will he be a part of Manchester United during the 2019-20 season?

Keeping Bailly on the squad might be a bit complicated this summer. The player wants to earn first-team minutes, but the road is steep ahead of him. Victor Lindelöf has settled himself as a first-choice player, and Chris Smalling has been decent enough to remain as a starter as well. Plus, Solskjaer wants to sign another centre-back during the upcoming summer transfer window. With such a crowded scenario, where could Bailly fit in?

With that in mind, Bailly could become expendable, alongside Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo. But out of those three, Bailly is the most valuable one due to his age and upside. I’m sure Manchester United would like to keep him around. But it wouldn’t be shocking to see him leave the club over the next few months.

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