The Ivory Coast international was one of Jose Mourinho’s first signings when he took over as Manchester United boss in 2016. Joining from Villarreal, the 24-year-old was a highly sought-after prospect having impressed in his one full season in La Liga. Mourinho didn’t hesitate to recommend the United board invest £30m.
After being hailed for his performances as he began his debut season at United, his career suffered a setback when he suffered a serious knee injury in October 2016 against Chelsea. After returning last season, Bailly found himself on the fringes of the first team as fitness and subsequently form deserted him.
Mourinho’s notoriously thin patience means Bailly must content himself with a place on the United bench, leaving the player desperate to find first-team football elsewhere.
United are keen to engineer a swap deal similar to the one which saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan leave for Arsenal with Alexis Sanchez travelling in the other direction. Mourinho is a fervent admirer of the Gunners troubled midfielder Mesut Özil, 29, and would welcome the chance to bring him to Old Trafford.
Equally, Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld, 28, was heavily linked with a move to United over the past two years with a player-exchange by the two clubs being mooted.