Manchester United defender Eric Bailly has reportedly emerged as a transfer target for Sevilla and is apparently looking to return to Spain after his time at Old Trafford has not exactly gone as planed since a big money arrival in 2016.
United paid in the region of £30m to buy Bailly, then still relatively unknown, from Villarreal as Jose Mourinho's first signing. But patchy fitness, low confidence and even mid-season international duty have all contributed to the Ivorian playing just 67 times in two and a half years.
Prior to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's arrival as caretaker manager, Bailly had spent much of this season out of favour after an error strewn performance against Brighton back in August. He was given a starting chance against Bournemouth last weekend, only for a reckless late challenge when United were cruising to yield straight red card and an automatic three-game suspension.
Bailly hasn't been short of alleged potential suitors since it became apparent that he isn't flourishing at Old Trafford. Arsenal and Tottenham have both been linked at one time or another, with fresh gossip from Spain now declaring that Sevilla are eyeing the 24-year-old.
According to Mundo Deportivo (MD), the Andalusian club are looking for defensive reinforcements after suffering a handful of injuries at various points of the season so far.
In addition, Gabriel Mercado's contract is also expiring and €15m summer signing Joris Gnagnon is yet to command a place.
The report claims that Bailly, who started his professional career with Espanyol before joining Villarreal, is interested in going back to Spain and finds Sevilla a pleasing option due to the club's high La Liga standing and European prospects. MD even go as far as claiming that Mourinho's departure from Old Trafford is one of the reasons Bailly supposedly wants to leave.
However, it is important to stress that it seems unlikely United would sanction a sale without first strengthening what is already a leaky defensive unit. Recouping at least a good amount of their £30m investment would also be a key factor.
If United are planning to dip into the market for a new defender this month, The Guardian notes that reported target Kalidou Koulibaly has been priced at an eye watering £107m by Napoli.