Man Utd transfer rumours: Eric Bailly could save club lots of money in defender chase

Manchester United star Eric Bailly in action against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park

Eric Bailly's new contract at Manchester United could see the club opt to buy a less expensive defender this summer, according to Dean Jones on the latest episode of the Touchline Talk Podcast

What are the latest transfer rumours involving Man Utd?

Given the likes of Rio Ferdinand have commented on United's lack of pace at the back, a number of names have been linked with a move to Old Trafford. 

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Indeed, the likes of Sevilla's Jules Kounde, Real Madrid's Raphael Varane and Fiorentina's Nikola Milenkovic have all been touted as potential targets though, according to Jones, Bailly's commitment could see them shop in less expensive markets. 

"I'm not convinced now that they're going to sign a Tier A - if you like - centre-back," he says from the 3:15 mark onwards. 

"They've been linked with buying Jules Kounde and these people and we were thinking they were going to spend £40-50m on a new centre-back but now that Eric Bailly has signed his new contract, I think we can expect that this is pretty much United's set-up at the back for next season. 

"There's going to be Harry Maguire and it'll be either Bailly or Lindelof partnering him and if they buy a defender, it's not going to be for £40m, it is going to be for £15m or something." 

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Could Bailly be enough? 

It's not as if United's defence is constantly being breached, given only Manchester City and Chelsea - the two Champions League finalists - have conceded fewer goals in the Premier League this season. 

While the temptation might be to throw money at the problem, this summer's transfer window looks difficult at best as it is considering the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause problems. 

Bailly, while restricted to only eight Premier League games this season through injury, does boast much more in the way of speed than either Maguire or Lindelof and, according to FBREF data, is capable of winning the ball back in a more proactive manner. 

For example, of United's established central defenders, he attempts more pressing actions in the middle third (3.10) per game than anyone else at a success rate of 37.2%, bettered by only Luke Shaw. 

Bailly also averages the most interceptions per game (2.39) than anyone to have started a league game for United this season too, so could theoretically bring added verve to the defence once fully fit. 

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