Manchester United are set to complete a stunning €40million deal for a La Liga star in the ‘coming hours’ according to Spanish outlet AS.
According to the Spanish outlet Manchester United are set to sign Ivorian defender Eric Bailly. Bailly has a €40million (£31million) release clause, but United will not pay that whole amount up front, say AS. They say that instead of activating the clause, United have agreed a deal with Villarreal that could eventually be worth the entire release clause. The initial payment is likely to not be much more than £16million. Manchester United have agreed those terms with the club, but are now in negotiations with the player over his contract. The deal is not certain though, with other clubs likely to also meet the Spanish sides valuation.
The 22-year-old is a powerful and quick young central defender that is seen as the ideal defensive partner for Chris Smalling for Jose Mourinho. His style is similar to the type of defenders Mourinho has previously worked with as he has a clear preference for strong and fast central defenders. Bailly is just that and was central to a Villarreal defence that conceded just 35 La Liga goals this season.
He 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.
There has been a real shortage of top-class, young central defenders recently, and the chance to sign Bailly is one that United do not want to pass up on, hence the large offer placed by Mourinho. A new central defender was one of Mourinho’s main targets for the summer and if Bailly can be confirmed in the next week then it would indicate a strong start to the transfer window for Mourinho, alongside the expected arrival of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Just to warn you United fans, we’ve heard the words ‘coming hours’ all too often from Spanish press and it never really seems to be the case. Whilst this deal looks extremely possible, I wouldn’t start printing his shirt yet, it could take a few more days. There is also interest from Manchester City and Paris-Saint Germain, something that could scupper any deal. United will have to assemble a contract lucrative enough to convince him to join the club over teams like Man City and PSG, both of whom will be playing in the Champions League next season, an incentive Man United cannot currently offer.