Manchester United are eager to shift deadwood off the wage bill this summer to launch a full-scale assault on the transfer market and a former player is reportedly helping.
Sky Sports’ Dharmesh Sheth reports that Cristiano Ronaldo has been in touch with Eric Bailly regarding a possible move to his team, Al-Nassr.
Interest from Saudi Arabia in Manchester United defender Eric Bailly. Talks ongoing with 2 clubs over 3 year deal worth £20m. Cristiano Ronaldo spoke to him direct to tell him about League & lifestyle. Bailly not on United’s US Tour. 1 year left on contract + 1 year option. #MUFC
— Dharmesh Sheth (@skysports_sheth) July 23, 2023
He has reportedly talked to Bailly about the league and lifestyle as two clubs are locked in negotiations on a three-year deal worth £20 million.
It is not the first time Ronaldo’s intervention might help United offload a player.
Bailly’s contract expires in 2024 and the injury-prone defender hasn’t been selected for United’s pre-season tour of the USA.
He has been deemed dispensable and the urgency to sell him was such that United were even willing to let him go for “almost free” amid interest from Real Betis.
Therefore, the interest from Saudi Arabian clubs will be a huge respite for United, as they likely won’t have to cover a part of Bailly’s wages either.
Most importantly, a three-year deal worth £20 million for the Ivorian will be an unexpected windfall for the club, which might have been resigned to making a huge loss on him.
United would hope that Ronaldo’s intervention can turn Bailly’s head and make a move possible.
Ronaldo was the first global superstar to walk this path when he joined Al-Nassr in January 2023 after burning bridges with United in an interview with Piers Morgan.
Nearly half a year after that move, it could lead to unexpected positive consequences for the club.
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