Manchester United defender Eric Bailly has signed a new contract with the club until summer 2024, with the option of a further year.
Bailly’s deal was due to expire at the end of the 2021/22 season, but he has now agreed to extend his stay at Old Trafford.
The 27-year-old Ivory Coast international signed from Villarreal in 2016 and made his 100th appearance for United this season.
Bailly had feared United were offering him a new contract simply to guarantee a bigger transfer fee for him in the summer, Sky Sports News understands.
After a run of being left out of the team in March, a friend of Bailly told Sky Sports News the defender felt the club had been «very disrespectful» to him and that «frankly he’s had enough».
They added: «He feels that no matter what he does, he will never be first choice for Ole».
However, Bailly told the Manchester United club website he was «very happy» to have committed his future to the club and that the «decision is something I didn’t have to think about».
«I love this club and I love playing for Manchester United,» he said.
«I’m happy and so are my family, everything is good. Now the moment with my injury has passed and I’m fit and feel good, and that’s it. A new contract is like a new challenge and I’m ready for this.
«For me, it’s the dream to be here. Now it’s my fifth season and I hope to be here a long time.
«We are in a good position. We have the Europa League and we are second in the league and that is very good. We hope we can win this trophy [Europa League] – it is very important for us and for the fans and for the season. We want to finish well in the Premier League as well, I’m sure we will.
«I hope I can be ready and I don’t get any injuries and to be strong and finish the season well. I hope to win the Europa League this season. We will have more challenges next season – hopefully the Champions League – and, for me, my dream is to win the Premier League, that’s my big dream.»
Bailly has largely been used as back-up to regular centre-back pairing Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer replaced Jose Mourinho as manager in December 2018.
Solskjaer said of Bailly’s renewal: «I am pleased that Eric has signed this new contract. He is still learning and improving all of the time under the coaches here.
«Eric has improved his robustness since my time as manager and he will continue to play a significant part in the squad.
«He possesses fantastic speed, timing of tackle and has that aggression which, of course, you need as a centre-back. He is a popular member of the squad and we look forward to continuing to work with him going forward.»