Manchester United are eager to open negotiations with defender Eric Bailly over a new contract, as they don't want to lose him for free when his deal expires next summer.
Following the big-money arrival of Harry Maguire from Leicester City, at least one of United's current crop of centre-backs is expected to leave the club in the near future, and Bailly - who is out injured until January - has been suggested as the unlucky casualty.
However, according to The Sun, United remain committed to the Ivorian, despite the lengthy injury struggles which have plagued his time at Old Trafford.
As it stands, with one year left on his current deal, Bailly would be free to negotiate a free transfer overseas when he returns from his knee injury in January, but United are hoping to avoid that and plan to open negotiations over a fresh deal.
The Sun claim there is a clause in Bailly's £120,000-a-week contract which allows Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to automatically extend the 25-year-old's current deal, but United would prefer to tie him down to a fresh one as a sign of their commitment to him.
A United source is quoted as saying: “The club want Eric to stay and are looking for talks about an extension. We don’t want to lose him on a free transfer next summer. It’s just down to both parties agreeing to everything.
“His injury record isn’t a major concern for us. We just think he has been unlucky with everyone over the last few years. Ole is a fan of the player and we’re going to convince him to stay, at least that is the plan at present."
Should he remain at Old Trafford, Bailly is expected to act as backup to Maguire and Victor Lindelof, both of whom started the 4-0 win over Chelsea in United's season opener.
Since joining from Valencia in 2016, Bailly has managed 74 appearances for United, but he has struggled greatly with various injuries in recent years. He was restricted to just 12 Premier League outings last season, whilst he only managed 13 the year before.
Nevertheless, United appear committed to the defender, and they are eager to tie him down to a new contract as soon as possible.