Manchester United defender Eric Bailly is increasingly looking unlikely to stay with Olympique de Marseille on a permanent basis when his loan deal expires.
Bailly went to France during the summer on loan as he was not part of Erik ten Hag’s plans for the season.
In recent games, Igor Tudor has used Bailly sparingly, fuelling speculation that Marseille are not planning to exercise the buy option contained in the defender’s contract.
The Peoples Person relayed that for this buy option to be triggered, Bailly must feature in at least 50% of Marseille’s Ligue 1 games.
The French giants also have to qualify for the Champions League. Marseille are on track to qualify for Europe’s premier competition but the former condition is not looking promising.
On Sunday, Marseille beat Reims and Bailly did not start the game even with his side plagued by extensive injuries and suspensions at the back.
Foot Mercato points out, “The Ivorian remained on the bench before entering at the very end of the match. A real mystery.”
“What was eagerly awaited before the match was the composition of the Marseille defence.
“With the suspensions of Leonardo Balerdi and the injury of Sead Kolasinac, only Samuel Gigot, Chancel Mbemba and Eric Bailly remained. All three trained in this position.”
Mbemba and Gigot started the game but instead of turning to Bailly to slot into his preferred back-three formation, Tudor moved Valentin Rongier, naturally a midfielder, to the centre-back position. The decision raised eyebrows.
After the game, Tudor said that it was a technical and tactical choice not to use Bailly.
The French outlet added that since the Paris Saint-Germain game in which Bailly had trouble containing Kylian Mbappe, he has barely seen any action.
“Is it related to the fact that he still has to play minutes for the call option to be exercised? Apart from the leaders of OM, no one knows. But with the returns of Leonardo Balerdi (who was suspended for two games) and Sead Kolasinac, we risk seeing him even less.”
Bailly’s situation is similar to Griezmann’s peculiar loan deal to Atletico Madrid from Barcelona. If Griezmann were to play 45 minutes or more in 14 of Atletico Madrid’s matches, Atletico would be obligated to pay Barcelona €40m to sign him permanently.
Griezmann as a result failed to start a single La Liga game and was instead regularly brought off the bench with 30 minutes to go.
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