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Manchester United closing in on Eric Bailly?

Manchester United were linked to Villarreal defender Eric Bailly on Saturday, which seems to have come on leaps and bounds over the last few days. The Ivory Coast central defender is highly regarded at the Spanish club and is one of the best central defenders in the league over the past season. Bailly has only been at Villarreal since January 2015, after leaving cash-strapped Espanyol for €5.7 million, in replacement for Gabriel Paulista, who signed for Arsenal. Manchester United have reportedly agreed a £27.6 million fee for the Ivorian, which has been touted since Saturday and now Villarreal official Fernando Roig Negueroles has suggested that the Spanish club will not stand in the player’s way should he want to move, which would enable the club to make £20 million profit on the player, which is a good return. Speaking to Marca and reported by the Manchester Evening News, Negueroles said:

“There is a team that is very interested and if the three parties agree there will be no problems. If the player wants to leave and Manchester want to pay, we will reach an agreement.”

Bailly is a talent and one which could fit in well at Old Trafford. He owes a lot to his former club Espanyol, who effectively started his career as he could not speak the language or officially play football for two years, which was stated by Manolo Marquez, Espanyol’s coach who gave the Ivorian his professional debut. This can be read in an article published by Andy Mitten on ESPN FC with Marquez saying:

“The Spanish agency Promo Esport organises trial games in Africa and Eric was spotted in a game in his native Ivory Coast. His talent stood out straight away and Espanyol offered him a youth contract. It was very difficult for him to leave his family and move to Spain, but he did it.

“He wasn’t allowed to play in any official matches for two years. He could only train and play in friendlies. He was 15, late to football and match experience would have helped, but he had no papers.”

Mitten states in the article that Manchester United’s interest in the player is real and Marquez, who gave him his debut at Espanyol seems to think that the player has the talent and ability to reach the top-level. so this signing, should it actually cross the line could be a good one for the club. Many supporters on social media have been asking who Eric Bailly was, I did not know a lot about him myself, but have seen him play in a few matches. I do not profess to know a lot about him, what I know has been read over the last few days, but much like Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra to name a few, they were relatively unknown also and established themselves at the club. It is clear that Jose Mourinho has done some homework before assuming the role as manager at Manchester United, that homework seems to have been to identify areas where United need strengthening, and he seems to be trying to solve it as quickly as he can.

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