Mourinho reportedly set for first signing; but who is Manchester United-bound Eric Bailly?

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Manchester United are reportedly closing in on the signature of defender Eric Bailly.

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Major Spanish newspaper AS reported on Saturday evening that Villarreal defender Eric Bailly is on the verge of a huge deal to join Manchester United.

It's claimed that Bailly could become Jose Mourinho's first signing as Manchester United boss, after the two clubs agreed to a €40m (£31.3m) transfer, with Bailly now discussing personal terms with the Red Devils over a dream move to Old Trafford.

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That's a huge amount of money for the young defender, and many United fans won't be too familiar with Bailly - so just who is the allegedly Old Trafford-bound centre back?

An Ivorian international with 15 caps to his name, Bailly joined Espanyol in December 2011 at the age of just 17, and it was only three years later that Bailly made his La Liga debut for the Catalan side.

Bailly had made just five appearances before being snapped up by La Liga rivals Villarreal in January 2015, as he was brought in as a replacement for Arsenal's Gabriel Paulista, despite his inexperience - and he hasn't looked back since.

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Bailly played a key role for Villarreal this past season, making 34 appearances in all competitions as they not only racked up 17 clean sheets in the league, but also reached the Champions League semi-finals, only to lose over two legs to Liverpool.

The defender has already impressed in La Liga, though Bailly isn't without his faults. The Ivorian is still a little raw defensively and can make mistakes, whilst 11 yellow cards last season show that he can be somewhat indisciplined at times - and that tally would've made him the most-booked United defender.

Villarreal's Eric Bailly in action with Lyon's Nabil Fekir

Still, it's not hard to see why Mourinho would want him. At Real Madrid he developed a pacey defender in Raphael Varane, and then did the same with Kurt Zouma at Chelsea.

Mourinho appears to love working with young, athletically-gifted central defenders, and Bailly certainly fits the bill with strength, pace as well as the ability to play at right back as well.

United are paying for potential here, and Bailly will become the first African player to sign for United since Mame Biram Diouf's move to Old Trafford in January 2010 - hopefully for United and Mourinho, Bailly enjoys much more success with the Red Devils.

Are you excited by the possible signing of Bailly?

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