Monday 22 January 2018

Jose hails purchase of Bailly

Mourinho says Ivorian defender can 'fulfil his potential' at Old Trafford after signing four-year deal from Villarreal

Villarreal's Eric Bailly has joined Manchester United
Villarreal's Eric Bailly has joined Manchester United
Eric Bailly is pictured after signing a four-year deal with Manchester United.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho believes new centre-back Eric Bailly has the potential to be one of the best in the business.

The 22-year-old Ivory Coast international, who subject to a work permit has signed a four-year deal with the option of a two-year extension, is the Portuguese's first signing since taking over from Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford.

Mourinho has high hopes for the defender, who could reportedly cost United up to £30million.

"Eric is a young central defender with great natural talent," he said. "He has progressed well to date and has the potential to become one of the best around. We look forward to working with him to help nurture that raw talent and fulfil his potential.

"Eric is at the right club to continue his development."

Bailly made 47 appearances in the 16 months he was with Villarreal after joining from Espanyol in January last year.

He has also won 15 caps for the Ivory Coast and was part of the 2015 African Nations Cup-winning side.

"It is a dream come true to be joining Manchester United," he said.

"To play football at the highest level is all I have ever wanted to do.

"I want to progress to be the best that I can be and I believe working with Jose Mourinho will help me develop in the right way and at the right club.

"I am looking forward to meeting my new team-mates and to starting this new chapter of my life."

A strong, tall presence at the back, Bailly enjoyed considerable success last season, being a key player for Villarreal as they secured a fourth-placed finish in the Primera Division and reached the Europa League semi-finals, but injury ruled him out of the 3-0 second leg defeat to Liverpool.

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