No, although the idea of United selling to a direct rival (if they could help it) in the Premier League may be somewhat fanciful.
Indeed, Castles claimed back in December that former Spurs boss Jose Mourinho was keen to bolster his central defence and Football Insider then followed up that story in March
Bailly, meanwhile, was coming towards the end of his contract at Old Trafford prior to penning a new deal, with his previous contract due to expire in the summer of 2022. Having worked with Mourinho before and boasting Premier League experience, the logic behind such a move would have made sense.
What did Castles say?
Talking on yesterday’s episode of The Transfer Window Podcast, Castles shared some insight into Spurs’ transfer interest.
“Bailly, interestingly enough we can tell you, was of interest to Tottenham Hotspur for next season if he didn’t sign that new contract, if Manchester United had gone a different route, and if they were able to offload Davinson Sanchez,” he said from the 31:38 mark onwards.
How does Bailly compare to Davinsnon Sanchez?
Given Castles suggested Bailly was considered as a potential replacement for Sanchez, a comparison does seem apt.
Clearly, the United defender has struggled with injuries – missing 99 games since joining the club in the summer of 2016 – though some of his key statistics when fit do compare favourably to Sanchez’s.
During his eight Premier League outings this season, the Ivorian has averaged more interceptions per game (1.4, via WhoScored) than Spurs’ £42m Colombian star (0.8), as well as more blocks (1.1 to 0.7).
What did Mourinho say about Bailly?
Having signed the player from Villarreal and only being sacked from Tottenham recently, looking back at Mourinho’s view of the player seems pertinent.
“Eric is a young central defender with great natural talent,” he told manutd.com (via the Irish Independent in 2016).
“He has progressed well to date and has the potential to become one of the best around.
“We look forward to working with him to help nurture that raw talent and fulfil his potential. Eric is at the right club to continue his development.”
Obviously, the fact he’s now extended his stay at the Theatre of Dreams until the summer of 2024, would appear to put an end to Spurs’ interest in the player, though their search for a new central defender may go on considering the aforementioned reports.