We’ve been asking the fans who they think have been the best signings of the summer. This is your list and this, is your number 4.
The response when Manchester United signed Eric Bailly for £30 million by many was simply, who? A closer look at the former Villarreal defender would reveal that Manchester United may have got a very good deal.
£30 million for a defender of his age is no longer expensive if he can become a top quality defender. Arsenal have paid £35 million for Mustafi whilst Chelsea reinvested £38 million to bring back David Luiz who is now 29 years old. Bailly is just 22 and from what we’ve seen of him so far in the United shirt he could be at the club for many years to come.
What I like about Bailly is that he appears far more mature than his age, he is confident in possession, strong and tactical in his defensive work. He appears completely unaffected by the fact he is playing for Manchester United, such a high profile environment causes many players to crumble especially when they first move to England. Even David de Gea first struggled when he moved to England as the English game differs a lot to the Spanish, but Bailly has all the attributes to make sure the transition across Europe is smooth. His strength stands him in particularly good stead. He also has the pace to cope with the quick Premier League style of play and handle strikers like Jamie Vardy.
His performances in a Manchester United shirt so far appear to have placed him above the likes of Chris Smalling in the pecking order for Jose Mourinho. Although there were rumours about Manchester United signing an experienced defender like Southamptons Jose Fonte, it appears that Mourinho was convinced by Bailly’s mature performances that United did not need to add an experienced presence at the back, that in itself is a real compliment to Bailly and will give him plenty of confidence ahead of what is likely to be a long and successful Manchester United career for him.
Like any young player, he is likely to struggle at some stage but it appears that Bailey has the right qualities to overcome these obstacles and become a better player because of it.
£30 million may seem like a lot but for such a young player it could prove to be a bargain. Remember that it was Manchester United who invested £30 million in Leeds defender Rio Ferdinand more than 10 years ago when £30 million was worth a lot more in the market. Look how successful that move turned out to be!
The signing of Bailly, like Pogba shows that Manchester United are not afraid to invest heavily if they find the right player and because of both of their ages, despite the combined fee of more than £100 million they could easily turn out to be value for money, despite what the critics will say. As an Arsenal fan I admire Manchester United’s financial muscle and although they are criticised by many fan bases I believe that because they have the resources they are right to invest in players they feel will strengthen the squad. You cannot argue that in Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimović and Paul Pogba, Manchester United have done very well in the market and it is a marked improvement on what previous successes to Sir Alex Ferguson had managed.
The signing of Jose Mourinho may have been the most important capture for Manchester United this summer as it has enabled them to bring top quality players in. Bailly, unlike the other signings Manchester United have made is not yet proven at the highest level but his early career is very promising and it shows that he has plenty of potential to become one of the best young defenders in the world. Manchester United had previously invested a lot of time trying to develop Phil Jones into that young defender that could mature at Manchester United and become a world class defender, but Jones has had setback after setback and the investment in Bailly shows that whilst Mourinho may not have completely given up on Jones, the Portuguese manager has been ruthless and signed a player he feels will improve the squad and from what we’ve seen so far, that is likely to be the case.
Manchester City spent more than £30 million on Nicolas Otamendi and Elaquim Mangala, and neither of them have proven themselves to be quality defenders in England. They have now chosen to invest another £50 million in John Stones. Manchester City have spent more than £100 million trying to find a young defensive partner for captain Vincent Kompany, and that highlights how good a deal it will be for Bailly if he indeed flourishes at United.