Tottenham could battle Arsenal for African defender

It isn’t the North London derby yet but Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur are already at war. There’s no love lost between these sides and this animosity transcends beyond the pitch.

Expect fireworks when both sides clash in the transfer market for Manchester United defender Eric Bailly.

According to the Daily Record, the north London neighbours are monitoring the Ivorian’s situation at Old Trafford.

Bailly was Jose Mourinho’s first signing as United manager. The defender arrived with considerable potential and a huge outlay. However, with only 40 top-flight appearances under his belt, he seems to not be the kind of experienced, ready-made addition Mourinho typically favours.

Although the Ivorian showed immense potential at times, he has so far failed to kick on during his two years at Old Trafford. It seems as though the Red Devils could cut tlheir losses.

On his day Bailly is brilliant. Not only is he technically gifted, able to ghost past opposing forwards with the ease of a creative midfielder, but he is also extremely relaxed under pressure. He is a capable of player as either a man-marker or he can take a more progressive attitude.

Bailly can construct defence-splitting passes without fear or significant difficulty, which is what makes him such an important asset. However, injuries have reduced him into a mere spectator lately. This seems to have left him lagging behind Victor Lindelof, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones in the pecking order.

Bailly’s fitness is a major concern. The 24-year-old was plagued by six different injuries in two years, missing nearly a combined eight months of action. When he is on the pitch, intermittent lapses of indiscipline is also a concern.

Both London giants are desperate to add defensive reinforcements. Injuries have cut Unai Emery’s side to bare bones.  Mauricio Pochettino doesn’t have the same injury concerns at present, but could do with an extra man at the back.

Reports claim that Mourinho, though, would prefer to keep the former Villarreal defender despite using the 24-year-old sparingly in the Premier League campaign so far.

The Daily Record adds that the ex-Chelsea boss will only do business if Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly moves to Old Trafford. That move appears unlikely, at least until the summer.