Manchester United are set to be boosted by the return of Ivorian international Eric Bailly after reports confirmed that the defender is back in training. The news comes as a huge relief to Jose Mourinho and the Red Devils who were expecting Bailly to miss out on a majority of the remainder of the season. The Ivory Coast centre-back was one of Mourinho’s first signings at United and cost them around £30m.
Bailly has quickly become a fan favourite after his arrival at Old Trafford. The defender started off the season with some brilliant performances to back his big money move from Villarreal. However, he suffered an injury in United’s 4-0 loss against Antonio Conte’s Chelsea last month and was expected to be side-lined at least until January. The 22-year-old will not be available for selection during January due to the African Cup of Nations but could feature in United’s league game against Tottenham Hotspur on December 11th.
United have conceded five goals ever since Bailly’s absence and have not looked convincing enough at the back. Mourinho was quick to point out that the Ivorian is well on track for recovery and added, “He is working hard and will be back by the end of the year, for sure.” Another source close to United added, “The medical staff were impressed with his progress over the recent international break. They are refusing to set a comeback date, but Bailly hinted the game on December 8th (against Zorya Luhansk) will be his return.”
Troubled times for Jose Mourinho and Manchester United
United have won just one out of their last seven league games and are currently 6th in the table, 11 points away from league leaders Chelsea. Mourinho is expected to look for reinforcements come January after it was clearly evident that he does not fancy Chris Smalling or Marcos Rojo to be a part of the United back four.
United face West Ham in the EFL Cup tomorrow and face a tough challenge in the three games against Tottenham, Crystal Palace and West Brom leading up to the festive season.
Mourinho’s recent sending off against West Ham could also mean that he might miss out on two league games and things can go from bad to worse if United keep dropping points leading up to the second half of the season. The Red Devils have been linked to Virgil van Djik as well as Victor Lindelof of Benfica.