Eric Bailly: Man Utd set to sign Villarreal defender for about £30m

By Simon StoneBBC Sport
Eric Bailly
Eric Bailly made his debut for the Ivory Coast in 2015

Villarreal central defender Eric Bailly looks like being Jose Mourinho's first signing as Manchester United manager.

Bailly is due to have a medical this week and terms are thought to have been agreed with the 22-year-old, who will cost the Red Devils about £30m.

He has played 40 times in La Liga, the first five of which were for Espanyol.

Bailly joined Villarreal for £4.4m in January 2015 and played in every game as Ivory Coast won the Africa Cup of Nations just weeks later.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is also tipped to join United as Mourinho rebuilds a squad he inherited from Louis van Gaal, who was sacked last month.

The Sweden striker, 34, is a free agent after leaving Paris St-Germain and hinted at the weekend he would make an announcement about his future on Tuesday.

But that announcement turned out to concern his new sportswear range.

Asked about his future at the Paris launch event, he told the audience: "There is no confirmation. Keep wondering. I am enjoying the stories."


Spanish football expert Andy West

Bailly's reputation has soared this season, which saw him play a key role as Villarreal sealed Champions League qualification, and it's no surprise to see him make a big-money move this summer.

His prime asset is his extremely impressive physical presence, with his powerful aerial ability complimenting his pace and strength in the tackle.

The brave and determined 22-year-old has less than 50 league games under his belt, though, so United fans should perhaps not expect him to immediately become an automatic starter.

He can sometimes concede possession in dangerous areas and doesn't always show composure under pressure, but Bailly possesses all the physical tools necessary to succeed and the rest should come with more experience.

Subscribe to the BBC Sport newsletter to get our pick of news, features and video sent to your inbox.


Join the conversation

These comments are now closed.


Top Stories

Elsewhere on the BBC