By 90Min
November 13, 2018

Arsenal have been given a boost in their pursuit of Manchester United defender Eric Bailly, as it has been revealed that the Ivorian could be allowed to leave the Red Devils in January.

Unai Emery is reportedly dissatisfied with the defensive options he has at his disposal and is looking to bring in improvements in the January transfer window. With Laurent Koscielny still out injured, the Gunners have lacked a reliable centre-back so far this season.

One of the names linked with the north London club has been Bailly, who has reportedly been told that he can leave the club for pastures new in January, according to the Telegraph.

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Bailly was dropped from the first team after a woeful performance in Manchester United's 3-2 loss to Brighton earlier in the season. Since then, he has played in fits and spurts and his last appearance came in early October against Newcastle, where he was subbed off after just 19 minutes.

José Mourinho seems to have chosen Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof as his centre-back partnership this season, leaving Bailly in the dark. For a player of the Ivorian's quality and potential, sitting on the bench for the foreseeable future is not an option.

However, the news of his potential departure has sparked interest from Arsenal's bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur, who have yet to tie Toby Alderweireld down to a new contract.

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Whilst Bailly's performances this season have been underwhelming to say the least, there is no doubt that he has the potential to become a top centre-back in the Premier League. His physicality and his pace provide a great springboard for the Ivorian, and if Emery or Mauricio Pochettino can improve his defensive instincts and decision making then this could prove to be a fruitful signing for either side. 

One thing to note is that Manchester United may well be wary of selling Bailly to a Premier League rival for this very reason and the centre-back's price may well rocket up as a consequence of this.

Following the international break, Arsenal next face a trip to a free-scoring Bournemouth side who have surprised many this season and currently sit sixth in the Premier League. Having conceded in their last five league games, Emery will be hoping his side can improve defensively.

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