Mourinho begins Man Utd rebuilding with signing of Bailly
Jose Mourinho’s rebuilding job at Manchester United began when Ivory Coast central defender Eric Bailly became his first signing on Wednesday (June 8), joining from Spanish side Villarreal.
The 22-year-old signed a four-year contract with an option for two more years, a club statement said.
No fee was disclosed although media reports said United had agreed a deal of about 25 million pounds ($36.44 million) with the La Liga side.
“I’m really happy to be here at the biggest club in the world. I’ve always dreamed of playing in English football. When Manchester United was mentioned I didn’t have to think twice. It’s a dream come true,” said the Ivorian, who will likely partner England’s Chris Smalling in central defence next season.
Bailly has 15 caps for Ivory Coast and was part of their 2015 Africa Cup of Nations-winning squad.
He played 47 times for Villarreal after joining in 2015 from Espanyol, impressing in a back four that conceded only 35 goals in 38 La Liga matches last season and reached the the Europa League semi-finals, losing to Liverpool.
The capture of Bailly marks the first of an expected flurry of signings by Mourinho as he seeks to restore the fortunes of the 20-times English champions who won the FA Cup last season but finished fifth in the Premier League.
United, who will play in the Europa league after missing out on Champions League place, are also favourites to sign Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic while Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba has also been linked with a move to Old Trafford.
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