Manchester United are on the verge of completing their first summer signing..
Last week we reported that Manchester United were set to complete a £31million deal for Villarreal defender Eric Bailly. Today, reports in Spain suggest that the player is set for a Manchester United medical on Tuesday.
A closer look at the reports say that United will expect to complete medical tests in the ‘coming hours’. An interesting turn of phrase that the Spanish press love to use and it doesn’t normally mean what is says. But this time the claims are replicated in the English media and there appears to be a strong consensus that Bailly will be Jose Mourinho’s first signing at Manchester United.
The report also says Barcelona could sign Bailly, although they appear to be more interested in Samuel Umttiti. If the medical really is as close as many outlets are reporting then it seems the deal is as good as done.
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The fee of £31million includes bonuses that may or may not be paid dependent on the level of success the player and club achieve in the coming years.
Bailly made an impressive 2.9 interceptions per 90 minutes last season, although his pass completion rate of just 77% may be worry for a team like United who will dominate most games. He has also made 1.43 tackles and won 1.56 aerial duels per 90 minutes. He is likely to replace Daley Blind in the line-up and stats show just how different he is to the Dutchman. Mourinho is known to like tall and fast central defenders ahead of possession based players. Bailly has managed more interceptions and aerial duels won than Blind and it is those statistics that will have attracted Mourinho to Bailly as he looks to add a long-term powerful partner to Chris Smalling in the heart of Manchester United’s defence.
Bailly has been one of the best players in a Villarreal side that has exceeded expectations this season, also impressing in the Europa League. His 15 caps for Ivory Coast at the age of 22 highlight that he plays with a maturity beyond his years and he is considered to be amongst the best young central defenders playing in Europe.
Despite the medical taking place today, a contract is yet to be signed. Manchester United will have to assemble a contract lucrative enough to convince him to join the club over teams like Barcelona, Man City and PSG, all of whom will be playing in the Champions League next season, an incentive Man United cannot currently offer. To convince him to opt for United Mourinho has surely given the player first team assurances that clubs like Barcelona would not be able to guarantee.