Eric Bailly Besiktas transfer: Best Manchester United moments

Eric Bailly has seen his seven-year stay at Manchester United come to an end after it was officially confirmed that he has signed for Turkish Super Lig side Besiktas. During his time at Old Trafford, the Ivory Coast international defender won the UEFA Europa League, EFL Cup and Community Shield, but was also hampered with injuries for long spells.

Bailly, aged 29, has penned a one-year contract with his new club, and according to the Manchester Evening News this is a free transfer. The Premier League side paid something in the region of £30million when signing the player in 2016 when signing from Villarreal.

It won't have come as the greatest shock in the world to see this deal go through. The player was told he was surplus to requirements by Red Devils boss Erik ten Hag, and with his exiting on a free it shows the club was just happy to get him off the wage bill. In the end, this looks to be the best solution for all parties.

Bailly Kane
Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane battles with Marseille's Eric Bailly (on loan from Manchester United) during the UEFA Champions League Group D match at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London. Picture date: Wednesday September 7, 2022. – Photo by Icon sport

It remains to be seen when Bailly will indeed make his debut for Besiktas considering he is extremely low on match fitness haven't not kicked a competitive ball in Anger since participating for his country in an international fixture versus Zambia in June. The club will want him up to speed as soon as possible, although they've not necessarily missed him given they've enjoyed a 50% clean sheet record this season already.

Although his time with United petered out into insignificance in the end, there was still some good times that he can reminisce on with some pride and joy. We wanted to take focus on some of the key moments of Bailly in a Manchester United shirt, with also an eye on how and why he became a popular member of the dressing room, and social media icon!

Eric Bailly Man Utd best moments: Mourinho signing

Remember when Jose Mourinho was Manchester United manager? It certainly does feel like a lifetime ago, but there was certainly some excitement upon his appointment to the main gig at Old Trafford. Many questions were asked about how he was going to shape up his team. He needed key ingredients to be successful, and only certain players fit the criteria under someone like Mourinho.

Enter Eric Bailly, who was indeed the first signing of the Mourinho era under ‘The Special One'. So much was the influence of Bailly at Villarreal, Jose forced the United board to part way with reportedly £30million to lure him to the club. This was a big statement and also a big deal for someone like Bailly, who now had an opportunity in the best league in the world, playing for arguably the biggest club in the world.

Eric Bailly Man Utd best moments: Eye-catching debut

Making your Manchester United debut at Wembley is not for everyone, but Bailly would certainly make a big impression on his first competitive viewing in the famous red shirt. In addition to fellow new signings Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan also making appearances, Mourinho threw Bailly into the side, partnering Daley Blind at centre back. He did not disappoint.

United would go on to lift the trophy after a 2-1 victory, with Bailly clearly playing a big role having earned the Player of the Match Award. He slotted in as if he had been playing here for years, and his quick speed across the pitch meant the pace of the game proved no issue for him. A typically fully committed performance would be something fans would get used to over his first few seasons at the club.

Eric Bailly Man Utd best moments: First and only goal

Bailly had to wait a little while to open his scoring account for the club, and it would be a goal that wouldn't and did not win any goal of the season awards. A floated corner into the box by Daley Blind was headed towards goal by Paul Pogba, only for it to be superbly tipped onto the bar by Łukasz Fabiański. However, Bailly showed lightning reactions to prod the ball over the line from all of three inches.

This proved to be something of a collectors item as it would go on to be his only goal for Manchester United. Whilst that may come as something of a surprise given the impact you'd expect him to have on set pieces especially, his injury record certainly counted against him adding more goals. Also, in his defence, he has only netted five goals in his entire career for club and country, so goals aren't expected from him.

Eric Bailly Man Utd best moments: Dressing room darling

It was pretty clear that Bailly was loved by those around him at the football club. Not a week would go by without a social media video appearing of Bailly getting up to no good in terms of joking around with his team mates. This would include dancing with Ander Herrera, ‘kicking' Swedish icon Zlatan Ibrahimovic and much, much more.

Also, it wouldn't be too unusual for him to standout on the pitch for some of his reactions and particular celebrations. All-in-all, you can see that he is certainly a character and is clearly the type of individual the rest of the squad want the best for. His injury record means he leaves undoubtedly with some regrets but the next chapter is his career at Besiktas may still produce exactly what he is looking for.

As mentioned, it remains to be seen when Bailly will indeed be ready to make his debut for his new club. After the international break. they will make the trip to take on Trabzonspor, whilst a few days afterwards they begin their UEFA Europa Conference League campaign when travelling to Belgium to take on Club Brugge in group action.