MANCHESTER UNITED defender Eric Bailly is set to be left out of at least three of Marseille's remaining Ligue 1 fixtures, as the French side look to avoid having to sign him permanently.
The Ivorian joined Marseille on a season-long loan deal from Old Trafford last summer.
The deal includes an obligation to buy for £6.2million, if two key factors are triggered.
One is that Marseille qualify for the Champions League, which they are well on track to achieve.
The other is that Bailly features in 19 of his side's 38 Ligue matches.
After 26 games, the 28-year-old has played in just nine – meaning he would have to appear in ten of their remaining 12 for the clause to be triggered.
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According to French paper L'Equipe, Marseille manager Igor Tudor "has lost confidence" in Bailly.
And they add that the potential obligation to buy in his loan deal will not help him earn a place in the team.
Bailly missed games during the first half of the season with thigh and leg injuries.
He was then slapped with a seven-match ban for a horror kung-fu kick that saw him red-carded against fourth tier Hyeres in the Coupe de France.
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After two substitute appearances upon his return, Bailly was thrown back into the starting XI for his side's top of the table clash with Paris Saint-Germain.
But he endured a torrid evening and was hooked on 66 minutes, as Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe linked up to inspire PSG to a comfortable 3-0 win.
Marseille currently sit second in Ligue 1, trailing leaders PSG by 11 points, albeit with a game in hand.
Should he return to Man Utd this summer, Bailly will have one year remaining on his contract at Old Trafford.
He played in a number of friendlies under Erik ten Hag during pre-season.
But he hasn't featured in a competitive match for the Red Devils since a 3-1 win over Burnley on December 30, 2021.
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