Wednesday 8 June 2016

United complete £30m Eric Bailly signing

United have signed Villarreal defender and Ivorian international Eric Bailly for a fee in the region of £30 million subject to a work permit. 

The 22-year-old has 15 Ivory Coast caps to his name and joins the club on a four year deal- with the option of a further two- to become United's fourth African player and Jose Mourinho's first signing as boss.

Bailly has played 40 times in La Liga, five of those with Espanyol before a £4.4 million move to Villarreal in January 2015. 

Eric made his debut for the Ivory Coast within weeks of his transfer to the Yellow Submarines and proved influential in that year's African Cup of Nations; Bailly appeared in all six matches as his side were crowned continental champions. 

Bailly described his move to England as a 'dream come true', and said:

"To play football in the Premier League at the highest level is all I have ever wanted to do and to be joining Manchester United is a dream come true.
"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 in my life and career."

Louis van Gaal may have spent £200 million during his time his charge, but the one glaring deficiency that the Dutchman failed to address was the gaping hole in United's backline.

At 6ft 2in and with an imposing style, Bailly will be well suited to the physical demands of the Premier League and looks to be the commanding presence we've missed since the departures of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic. 

Alongside Victor Ruiz in the Villarreal defence, he formed a strong partnership that was a key factor in the team's fourth placed finish last term, including shutouts against Atletico Madrid (twice), Real and Liverpool in Europe, suggesting an ability to shine against high calibre opposition.

Mourinho said of his new addition:

"Eric is a young central defender with a great natural talent, he has progressed well to date and has the potential to become one of the best around
"Everyone at Manchester United looks forward to working with him to help nurture his raw talent and fulfil his potential.
"Eric is in the right environment to continue his development."

United are also widely tipped to complete the acquisition of PSG's out of contract Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic during the summer. 

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