Man United signed Ivory Coast defender Eric Bailly from Villarreal in the summer of 2016 in a big step forward for the club.
The centre-back cost The Red Devils £30m, and with that price for a defender came a lot of expectation. However, there was a portion of United supporters that believed the player would live up to the expectation.
These may have been fans simply hoping that the player performs rather than expecting, given how poor United’s defence was at that time.
There was equally a contingent of fans that were quite critical of the deal, highlighting how they hadn’t heard of the player before. For a club of the stature of Man United, this may not have been the signing that people wanted.
This is what the fans had to say:
Now to google his highlights and act Like i've loved him for years! 😀
— Ryan De Haber (@Itshaber) June 8, 2016
I don’t even know who he is but I’m just excited the Mourinho era has begun. Let’s go Manchester United!
— вєℓιєνє (@Renatesance) June 8, 2016
never heard of him
— Glen (@glenn9oo) June 8, 2016
— l e w i s jr (@LewisJr__) June 8, 2016
Yes since watching him on YouTube a minute ago.
— Don Pacho (@MoepediAdo) June 8, 2016
Bailly is too bad…
Why do you celebrate?? Oh my god..
— Juanan (@Juananauer33) June 8, 2016
— Mateusz (@afc_Mat) June 8, 2016
Two years on and those slightly more cynical fans have become the majority now. The defender is yet to convince fans at Old Trafford during his tenure. In flashes, he has looked one of the best defenders in the league, but he has also looked very ordinary at times.
To make matters worse, he has been on the end of a lot of criticism from José Mourinho this season, as The Red Devils have made a fairly shocking start to their season.
The thing that would disappointment most fans is that Bailly probably remains the club’s best defender. However, this is testament to the United’s struggling defence rather than his ability.
This is what the fans say now:
How is Eric Bailly a professional footballer
— Conor Farrell (@ConorFarrell11) October 2, 2018
When you realise Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly will face Ronaldo, Dybala, Mandzukic and Douglas Costa… pic.twitter.com/yaUjqEmz4m
— Footy Humour (@FootyHumour) October 2, 2018
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What happened to Eric Bailly
— SIMÖN (@simonpidakala) September 30, 2018