Man Utd close to completing a move for €40m defender - reports

SoccerBy Sunday World
Eric Bailly a target for Mourinho at Man Utd
Eric Bailly a target for Mourinho at Man Utd

Manchester United have made a move to sign Villarreal defender Eric Bailly and a €40m fee is close to being agreed, according to reports emerging from Spain.

AS and several other sources are suggesting that United are already in talks to sign Bailly and a move to Old Trafford could be agreed in the coming days.

The 22-year-old Ivory Coast central defender has been linked with a move to join Pep Guardiola at Manchester City for most of 2016, but it has now appears that United have made the first move to capture his signature.

Still something of a raw talent, Bailly has impressed at Villarreal since his move from Espanyol in January 2015, with the links with a move to the Premier League refusing to disperse over the first half of 2016.

Now the race for his signature appears to have moved to the next level, with Mourinho quickly identifying the central defensive position as one of his chief areas of concern since he succeeded Louis van Gaal as United manager and a move to Bailly would suggest he has signed up to a continuation of the club’s policy to trying to capture the best young players in the game.

Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial are two big name signings that arrived at United with big transfer fees in recent years, with the club hoping their investment in youthful talent will reap long-term rewards.

Bailly would be another player who fits into that mould, with his powerful presence alongside possible defensive partner Chris Smalling set to give Mourinho a more mobile defensive line that Van Gaal was operating with in a season that ended with him being sacked by United.

Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic looks set to be a marquee signing for Mourinho in the coming days, but United are keen to ensure they do not divert away from their policy of investing in potential as they look to splash the cash this summer.