Eric Bailly was set to make his first start of the season after being named in Manchester United's line-up to face Chelsea, who were without Tammy Abraham.

Bailly has been gradually making his way back from a knee injury sustained in pre-season and was included in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's XI for Monday's Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge.

The Ivory Coast defender replaced the unwell Victor Lindelof for his first appearance of the season across all competitions and his first in the top flight since April 2019.

Bailly was named alongside Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw in what appeared to be a back three for United, with Daniel James partnering Anthony Martial up front and Odion Ighalo on the bench.

United, who beat Chelsea 4-0 on the opening day of the season, have also been boosted by Abraham's absence for the home side, with the Blues' leading scorer missing out due to an injury suffered in a 2-2 draw with Arsenal in January.

Abraham played with a painkilling injection in Chelsea's draw with Leicester City prior to the mid-season break but did not make the cut this time and Michy Batshuayi came in for his first league start of 2019-20.

Frank Lampard also kept faith with Willy Caballero in goal as Kepa Arrizabalaga once again started on the bench, while Mateo Kovacic and Willian replaced Mason Mount and Callum Hudson-Odoi respectively.

Manchester United have triggered an extension clause in Eric Bailly's contract to keep the defender at the club until the end of the 2021-22 season.

Bailly, who signed for United from Villarreal in 2016 for a reported £30million fee, has made 50 Premier League appearances across three-and-a-half injury-hit campaigns.

The centre-back is yet to appear at all for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side this season due to a knee injury, though he is nearing a comeback after featuring for United's Under-23s on January 10.

Omnisport now understands United have taken up the option to extend the 25-year-old's deal, which had been set to expire at the end of the campaign.

While Bailly will be staying put, United have allowed Ashley Young – who has been replaced by Harry Maguire as the Red Devils' captain – to leave the club for Serie A title-challengers Inter.

Sporting CP playmaker and Portugal international Bruno Fernandes, meanwhile, continues to be linked with a big-money switch to Old Trafford.

Harry Maguire is in contention to feature for Manchester United against Norwich City on Saturday despite reports he was facing a significant spell out with a hip injury.

The most expensive defender in the world missed Tuesday's 3-1 EFL Cup semi-final first-leg defeat to Manchester City.

It was then claimed he was set to be out for an extended period due to torn a hip muscle, seemingly dealing United a massive blow given their dwindling defensive numbers.

But United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has allayed such fears, revealing the England centre-back could start against Norwich in the Premier League clash at Old Trafford.

"He's got a chance for tomorrow," Solskjaer confirmed in his pre-match news conference on Friday. "It was a minor thing.

"I don't know where the reports are coming from, you might've mistaken him for Harry Kane. No, he has a chance. We'll go through training and see how he reacts.

"It's not a surprise [that Maguire may be ready to play]. He's a warrior and if there's a minor problem he'll put himself up to play. That's what he did against Wolves. At half-time he was feeling discomfort but was adamant he'd be fine.

"He was close to playing against City, just not fit enough, but he's got a chance now."

There was less encouraging news for Scott McTominay, however, as the Scotland international is not expected to be back in action until the end of February after suffering knee ligament damage.

"Scott's out for a while," Solskjaer added. "I don't think we'll see him before the winter break [in February]. Hopefully we'll see him in February."

Eric Bailly and Timothy Fosu-Mensah are close to being match fit, though, with both yet to make an appearance this season.

Solskjaer said: "Eric and Tim are playing tonight [Friday] for the reserves, so that will be positive for them. They've been training well for a month now. Hopefully they'll get through that to be available for us again."

Eric Bailly is nearing a return for Manchester United after taking part in first-team training on Monday.

Ivory Coast international Bailly endured an injury-plagued 2019, making just seven appearances in all competitions for United.

The 25-year-old has been out of action since hurting his knee in an International Champions Cup victory over Tottenham in July.

Bailly underwent surgery and appears to be closing in on a return at a timely moment for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with the Red Devils facing seven fixtures in January.

Paul Pogba sat out United's 2-0 win over Burnley on Saturday and was absent for the part of Monday's training session that was open to the media.

Scott McTominay, who was pictured leaving Turf Moor on crutches after sustaining a knee injury, Ashley Young and Axel Tuanzebe were also missing.

United's next game comes against Arsenal at Emirates Stadium on January 1.

Manchester United defender Eric Bailly will be sidelined for the foreseeable future after having knee surgery.

The 25-year-old centre-back suffered a knee injury against Tottenham during a pre-season friendly in China last week.

The initial signs were not good and Bailly may not play again in 2019, having also battled knee problems during an injury-plagued 2018-19.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed the news after watching his side scrape past Norwegian outfit Kristiansund 1-0 in Oslo on Tuesday.

"Eric has had an operation and will be out for four to five months," he said.

"Hopefully we'll have him back around Christmas time."

Solskjaer acknowledged his side were fortunate to post their fifth straight pre-season victory after Juan Mata went down in the penalty area in the 91st minute.

Mata appeared to make the most of little-to-no contact from Andreas Vaikla, the third goalkeeper used by Kristiansund during the match, before scoring from the spot.

"They held their own. They defended really well," Solskjaer told MUTV.

"Of course we couldn't really break them down. They defended well and their 'keepers, all three of them, they did really well. But it's one of these games that we might get in the league ... sometimes it's the 91st minute, sometimes it's the first minute.

"The goal was very good... quality pass, great run and you're happy winning the game."

Solskjaer's son, Noah, appeared off the bench for Kristiansund in the dying stages, while the manager was flanked by his youngest son Elijah throughout the contest.

Asked if it was a proud night for his family, the United boss added: "I think so. Noah makes his debut for them in front of 28,000. It's not very often a Norwegian boy does [that]. Elijah next to me, he enjoyed it. That's what it about."

United play AC Milan in the International Champions Cup on Saturday.

Mauricio Pochettino has apologised to Manchester United over Tottenham's tough tackles during Thursday's International Champions Cup game.

Angel Gomes hit a late winner for United after Lucas Moura's deflected shot cancelled out Anthony Martial's opener in China.

Eric Bailly hurt his knee trying to block a shot from Son Heung-min and United's new winger Daniel James seemed to be targeted by Tottenham throughout, with Pochettino acknowledging his side were perhaps overly aggressive in their 2-1 defeat.

"I was a little bit annoyed about some situations, I was not happy," the Tottenham boss told reporters. "It was a friendly game and in some situations of course when you are tired, when it’s so hot you are not right with the tempo to arrive at the actions, sometimes you arrive late and something can happen.

"I apologise on behalf of our players to Manchester United."

Pochettino added: "It wasn't their intention, but sometimes when you are tired you arrive late and some things can happen.

"And I was worried because in this period of preparation it is sometimes you need to be aggressive and you need to play with passion but sometimes the focus is to build your fitness and develop the way you want to play.

"Of course I was worried, Manchester United, Eric Bailly got injured and I am sorry for that but he was alone.

"And always when the players start to build their fitness and start to fight for their place in the team, when something happens in the pre-season it's always tough and I was a little bit worried, but in the second half the game was a bit more relaxed."

A reported £25million clause in Toby Alderweireld's Spurs contract is said to expire on Thursday, but Pochettino was unwilling to discuss the centre-back's future.

"Nothing to say about that," he added. "I am very focused on working with the players that we have and the club provide us, the coaching staff, and try to help them to improve and work with the players who we are going to have at the end of the transfer market.

"My position from now for the future so you know, otherwise every time... I'm not going to talk about signing players, selling players, extending the contract of the players or not extending the contract of the players. That is going to be all through the club to update you if they want.

"I'm not going to communicate or talk about that, I'm going to talk about managing the squad that we have. To make clear because in the future if you're going to ask me it'll be a little bit weird because I won't answer because I don't have the answer."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer accepted Eric Bailly's condition "doesn't look great" after the centre-back suffered a knee injury in Manchester United's win over Tottenham.

United clinched a 2-1 victory in Thursday's International Champions Cup clash thanks to Angel Gomes' well-taken effort in the 80th minute, but the main talking point from the contest was the blow to Bailly.

The Ivory Coast international had only been on the pitch for 10 minutes following his half-time introduction before going down in need of medical attention, having attempted to block a shot from Son Heung-min, who was flagged offside.

Bailly was carried off on a stretcher and later photographed on crutches with his left knee in a brace, continuing the injury nightmare he has had to endure over the past two years.

Manager Solskjaer could not offer any form of update after the game in Shanghai but seemed pessimistic about the 25-year-old's condition.

"It's never nice getting an injury and not worth it," Solskjaer told reporters. "He's done his knee, but we're not sure how bad.

"We need to get him back to Manchester and do scans. We'll hope for the best."

He added in an interview with MUTV: "It doesn't look great, but let's see how it goes."

United have been strongly linked with £80million-rated Leicester City centre-back Harry Maguire in recent weeks and Solskjaer was asked if Bailly's injury will see the club intensify their pursuit of defensive reinforcements.

But he seemed to suggest he is content with the options available to him.

"We've had six centre-backs rotating here [on United's tour]," he said. "Phil [Jones] played first three games, then today Marcos [Rojo] and Chris [Smalling] took their chances.

"We looked assured at the back. You're never happy when you get injuries – let's hope for the best for Eric."

Angel Gomes scored the late winner as Manchester United beat Tottenham 2-1 in the International Champions Cup on Thursday, though the Red Devils will rue another injury suffered by Eric Bailly.

United generally looked the better side across the 90 minutes and 18-year-old Gomes ensured Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men made it two wins from as many matches in the ICC with a lovely goal towards the end.

Martial's pace worried Spurs throughout the first half and, after hitting the post early on, he converted in the 21st minute to leave Paolo Gazzaniga questioning himself.

A raft of substitutions at the interval unsurprisingly upset the flow of the game, though Spurs were able to make an improvement and they restored parity through Lucas Moura's deflected effort just past the hour, with United losing Bailly to an apparent knee injury shortly before.

Gomes secured the points for United after a clever exchange with Juan Mata 10 minutes from time, continuing the side's encouraging pre-season form.

United looked the more promising in the early exchanges and went desperately close to the opener when Daniel James latched on to a loose ball and fed Martial, whose left-footed strike came off the right-hand post.

Spurs responded by crafting a chance of their own, but Dele Alli's finish after a well-worked move was feeble, allowing David de Gea to make straightforward save.

Martial capitalised on his next opportunity, though, racing on to Andreas Pereira's pass into the area and his effort from a tight angle inexplicably found its way past Gazzaniga in the Spurs net.

United changed their entire starting XI at half-time and Spurs made a host of alterations of their own, resulting in a less cohesive beginning to the second period.

Among those introduced was defender Bailly, but he lasted only 10 minutes before appearing to suffer an injury to his right knee when attempting to block a Son Heung-min effort.

Spurs then equalised with 65 minutes on the clock – Lucas bringing the ball down brilliantly on the edge of the box, before seeing his scuffed effort deflect just past the helpless Sergio Romero.

But Solskjaer's side clinched victory late on, as Gomes played a one-two with Mata and then produced a composed finish from a tight angle to cap a solid cameo from the teenager.

Eric Bailly's Manchester United injury woes continued after the centre-back was taken off on a stretcher during Thursday's International Champions Cup clash against Tottenham.

Ivory Coast international Bailly joined United in 2016 from Villarreal and showed promise in his first season, but he has amassed only 25 top-flight appearances in the two campaigns since.

The 25-year-old has been dogged by a host of injuries during his time at United, with persistent shoulder, knee and groin problems limiting his impact.

After managing just eight Premier League starts last term, Bailly is no doubt hoping to play a bigger role in 2019-20, but 10 minutes after his half-time introduction against Spurs on Thursday he was carried off.

The defender tried to block an effort from Son Heung-min when he appeared to injure to his right knee, requiring a stretcher to take him off the pitch.

Should the injury prove serious, United's interest in Leicester City's Harry Maguire could mount, with the England international an apparent £80million target.

After two consecutive windows without a signing, Tottenham are keen to make a splash in the transfer market.

Tottenham purchased Tanguy Ndombele in a club-record deal, while Spurs are also reportedly interested in Real Betis star Giovani Lo Celso.

Now Tottenham could break the bank to prise an Argentina forward from Turin…

 

TOP STORY – SPURS EYE DYBALA

Tottenham have approached Juventus over the possibility of signing star Paulo Dybala.

That is according to the Evening Standard and reports in United Kingdom as Dybala faces an uncertain future at the Serie A champions.

Spurs have already spent £55million on Ndombele and the Champions League runners-up would need to break their transfer record again to sign the £80m (€90m)-rated Dybala, who has also been linked to Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain.

 

ROUND-UP

Juventus are eyeing Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves as part of a possible exchange deal involving striker Moise Kean, says Sky Sport Italia. Wolves are also reportedly in talks for Juve veteran Sami Khedira, who is not wanted by Maurizio Sarri.

- According to the Daily Mail, Everton are ready to hijack Arsenal's move for Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha. The Toffees are reportedly ready to offer £50m.

- Sportitalia claims Real Madrid playmaker James Rodriguez has been offered to AC Milan for €42m. Napoli only want to sign James on an initial loan deal, with Atletico Madrid now favourites to sign the Colombia international. However, agent Jorge Mendes has reportedly proposed James to Milan.

Manchester United have been asked to be kept updated on Christian Eriksen's future as they eye a move for the Tottenham midfielder, reports the Daily Mail. Eriksen – who is out of contract at the end of 2019-20 – has been linked to Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona.

- Staying at Old Trafford and as Manchester United reportedly pursue Leicester City defender Harry Maguire, Red Devils centre-back Eric Bailly fears for his future. The Metro claims Bailly feels he could be sacrificed should United sign Maguire.

- According to Corriere dello Sport, Inter have reopened talks with Manchester United for Romelu Lukaku.

Where will Neymar be playing in 2019-20? It is the €222million question.

After joining Paris Saint-Germain for a world-record fee in 2017, Neymar wants to leave the Ligue 1 champions.

Only a select few of Europe's elite can afford the Brazil superstar. Could a sensational move to Turin be on the cards?

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR SR TO TALK TO JUVE

Neymar could team up with Cristiano Ronaldo at Serie A champions Juventus.

That is according to Rai Sport following a report claiming Neymar's father will meet Juve sporting director Fabio Paratici in Turin.

Neymar wants to leave Paris Saint-Germain following his world-record €222m transfer in 2017 and the Brazil international has been linked with a return to Barcelona and LaLiga giants Real Madrid.

 

ROUND-UP

- The future of Luka Modric is once again in the spotlight, but the Real Madrid star is reluctant to leave, according to Marca amid interest from AC Milan. The speculation comes as the Rossoneri also look to bolster their defence. Gianluca Di Marzio says Milan are keen on signing €40m-rated Merih Demiral from Juventus, while Tuttosport reports the Italian giants have turned to Manchester United's Eric Bailly after being put off by Liverpool's valuation of Dejan Lovren.

- With Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben no longer around, Bayern Munich are desperate to reinforce their wide areas but the Independent claims the Bundesliga champions have given up on signing Callum Hudson-Odoi from Chelsea.

- Lyon captain Nabil Fekir is attracting a lot of interest from LaLiga and Valencia are now in pole position to sign the France international, according to Le10Sport. Diario Sport says Barcelona's Rafinha Alcantara is also hopeful of joining Valencia.

- According to Marca, Barcelona are ready to sell Arsenal and Tottenham target Malcom for £55m (€60.9m). Everton and Paris Saint-Germain are also reportedly interested in Malcom, who only arrived from Bordeaux in 2018-19.

- CalcioMercato claims Premier League giants Manchester United have entered the race to sign Roma sensation Nicolo Zaniolo. The 20-year-old has reportedly been involved in a tug-of-war between Tottenham and Juventus.

Inter are edging closer to Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku, who sat out Wednesday's friendly win over Leeds United in Australia. However, Corriere dello Sport also says Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani is an alternative for the Serie A side.

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