English Premier League giants Manchester United has confirmed the signing of Ivory Coast international Eric Bailly from Villarreal CF.
The 22-year-old central defender played 25 times for Villarreal in La Liga last season, aside seven Europa League appearances. The player joined The Red Devils on a four year contract with the option to extend for a further two years.
Baily was part of the 2015 African Cup of Nations winning team, appearing in all six matches during the tournament. He has made a total of 15 appearances for his country but totalled 47 since joining Villarreal on January 29 2015. The Ivorian also drew interests from Manchester City, Barcelona, and Paris St Germain. The clubs were all in a bidding contract for the player as he did not have any release clause.
Manchester United signed him for a reported price of 30 million Pounds to join prop up the defence as Man United stage a comeback with Mourinho next season. Baily who was acquired to replace Gabriel Paulista who joined Arsenal earlier that month, said it was a dream for him to play for Manchester United. He also added that he was excited to play at the highest level.
“Eric is a young central defender with great natural talent. He has progressed well to date and has the potential to become one of the best around.”
Bailly becomes the first signing from the Portuguese tactician but there are still indications that Swede forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic would still join the club this summer after leaving French Champions PSG. United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and Ibrahimovic’s representatives are believed to be finalizing a one year deal with Mourinho interested in bringing the player to Old Trafford. He is believed to be the only striker Mourinho will sign so Marcus Rashford can really develop.