Last year it was a fairly respectable 33 goals conceded in Lindelof’s 35 appearances and United’s defensive record turned out to be only worse than Liverpool and Manchester City – the league’s top two.
But Lindelof has been shaky this term and individually, Bailly – who is still just 26 years old – is the superior player and has the qualities to be a genuinely top-class Premier League centre-back.
As a unit United look a better team with him in there, particularly while defending counter-attacks. If they can keep the African fit and available, there is plenty to suggest the former Villarreal defender can become Maguire’s long-term partner.
He may well save United having to sign a new defender in the current window, provided he does not suffer a fresh niggle any time soon.
It has been claimed that Dayot Upamecano of RB Leipzig remains a long-term target but that United are unlikely to move for the Frenchman this month.
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It is not clear whether there is another alternative addition who United rate as highly as Upamecano whom they could make a bid for in the next few weeks to satisfy Solskjaer’s wish.
Instead it appears probable that the United hierarchy are set on Upamecano, and would prefer to wait until the Frenchman’s release clause of below £40million becomes active in the summer of 2021 to make a move for him rather than sign someone else now.
And so if that is indeed the case, perhaps Bailly can state his case to be a starter provided he can enjoy a long-awaited – and much-needed – consistent run in the team between now and then.