Manchester United have announced the signing of Villarreal centre-back Eric Bailly for an undisclosed fee. The Ivory Coast international has agreed to a deal until 2020, with the club retaining an option to extend the deal for a further 2 years.
The deal is subject to Bailly obtaining a work permit, but it shouldn’t be an issue as the defender would easily qualify under the “special talent” rule.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) June 8, 2016
Bailly, who can play all across the back four, has expressed his delight at arriving at Old Trafford and has described his move as a “dream come true”.
“It is a dream come true to be joining Manchester United. To play football at the highest level is all I have ever wanted to do,” he said.
“I want to progress to be the best that I can be and I believe working with Jose Mourinho will help me develop in the right way and at the right club. I am looking forward to meeting my new team-mates and to starting this new chapter of my life.”
Despite Bailly being a very versatile defender, it appears as though Mourinho intends to use him as a centre-back. The Portuguese manager has also expressed his content with Bailly’s arrival and has vowed to help the defender realize his potential in the years to come.
“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,” Mourinho said.
“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.”
Mourinho has made Bailly his first Manchester United singing since taking charge at the club less than two weeks ago. Bailly is just the kind the defender Mourinho wants to have at his disposal – a strong, fast and physically imposing player with good positional awareness.
All of these attributes should help Bailly adapt quickly to the Premier League. The young defender has already showcased his immense potential at Villarreal and has now decided to make the next step in his career by joining one of the biggest clubs in the world.
The Manchester United fans have plenty to look forward to and will be hoping to see Bailly and Smalling create a solid centre-back partnership next season.