Man Utd outcast Eric Bailly could make Premier League stay as Newcastle 'contact' defender

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Manchester United defender Eric Bailly could remain in the Premier League next season amid interest from Newcastle United. The Magpies are one of four European clubs to have contacted United about a potential summer move for the wantaway star.

Bailly and Phil Jones are expected to leave Old Trafford at the end of the season in search of regular game time as Erik ten Hag targets a new centre-back to begin his rebuild. And the former isn’t short of suitors, despite enduring a difficult stint at United across six injury-riddled seasons.

According to Jonathan Shrager, Newcastle have been joined by Ligue 1 clubs Lyon and Marseille and Serie A outfit AS Roma in registering their interest in Bailly. A switch to Italy could pose as the most enticing, considering it would allow him to reunite with Jose Mourinho, who brought him to United in 2016.

But if the 28-year-old wants to prove himself in England, a move up to Tyneside could be the most appealing and financially rewarding, given the club’s Saudi-backed project. Eddie Howe is entering his first summer transfer window as manager at St. James’ Park and will eye more defensive reinforcements.

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Jones and Bailly are understood to be two of the contracted players likely to depart M16 at the start of the Ten Hag era. They will join Lee Grant, Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard and Edinson Cavani, who are all set to leave as free agents on July 1.

The pair’s impending exits will make room for United’s latest central defender signing. They most recently recruited Raphael Varane from Real Madrid last summer, two years after breaking a then-British transfer record in a £80million deal for Harry Maguire.

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Ten Hag bolstering his defence would come as no surprise after a dismal season at the back for United, who have endured one of the worst defensive seasons in their Premier League history. The Red Devils hold a long-standing interest in Villarreal’s Pau Torres and were also interested in Antonio Rudiger before he opted to join Real Madrid once his Chelsea contract expires.

With Bailly, Jones, and potentially Axel Tuanzebe at the end of the road at Old Trafford, there will be space for another new face in the heart of the defence. But it might not spell the end of the Ivorian in England, with Newcastle very much in the race to secure his signature.

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