Manchester United centre-back Eric Bailly will leave Jose Mourinho’s squad during the January of 2017 in order to represent his nation in the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
Ivory Coast qualified for the competition following their 1-1 draw with Sierra Leone, meaning that Eric Bailly will be called up for the competition which takes place from the 14th of January to the 5th of February.
Eric Bailly has started his Manchester United career with a bang, impressing the manager and winning the hearts of millions of fans.
He arrived from Villarreal this summer in a £30 million deal, and was one of the four additions to the United squad under Jose Mourinho.
The 22-year-old has been awarded three man-of-the-match awards, after his sublime performances in Manchester United’s first four games of the season.
Bailly has been a solid performer for the squad, and looks to be developing a strong partnership with fellow centre-back Daley Blind.
Ivory Coast have not officially announced their squad for the 2017 AFCON, but Bailly is certain to take a spot in the heart of the Ivorian defense.
Bailly made six appearances during the 2015 edition of the AFCON as his nation eventually went on to be crowned champions.
The 22-year-old will most probably be called up a fortnight before the AFCON begins, meaning that Bailly will not be available to Mourinho for up to five weeks.
Eric Bailly is likely to miss the following of Manchester United’s matches:
[H] Liverpool – January 14th
[A] Stoke – January 21st
[H] Hull City – February 1st
[A] Leicester – February 4th
[H] Watford – February 11th
However, Jose Mourinho is expected to make a defensive signing in the January transfer window, with Jose Fonte being his number one target.
Eric’s absence during these crucial matches could push Mourinho even harder to secure another defensive option in the winter, although he already has Chris Smalling and Phil Jones to try and fill in the gap.