London, Aug 25 (IANS) Manchester United have confirmed the departure of defender Eric Bailly, who has joined Marseille on a season-long loan with the potential for a permanent transfer.
The Ivory Coast centre-back has swapped the Premier League for Ligue 1 on a deal that will initially run to the end of the 2022-23 season.
But Marseille will have the option to buy the 28-year-old before the campaign concludes.
According to reports, that will become an obligation if Bailly meets an appearances criteria and Marseille qualify for the Champions League.
Bailly arrived at Old Trafford from Villarreal in 2016 and was a member of United’s League Cup and Europa League-winning squad under Jose Mourinho in 2017.
However, various injury struggles, as well as the arrivals of Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane, have seen him restricted to just 57 appearances since the start of the 2018-19 campaign.
United’s recent acquisition of Lisandro Martinez from Ajax pushed Bailly further down the pecking order under new boss Erik ten Hag, and the defender has now become the latest player to depart under the Dutchman’s watch.
His exit comes in the wake of United’s first win of the season, after the Red Devils ended a dire run of form to defeat Liverpool 2-1 on Monday.
Goals from Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford steered the hosts to victory, while Martinez partnered Varane in a new-look backline as captain Maguire joined Cristiano Ronaldo in being dropped to the bench.