Jose Mourinho makes a bold claim about new Manchester United signing Eric Bailly

Picture Supplied by Action Images

Manchester United have confirmed the signing of defender Eric Bailly.

Picture Supplied by Action ImagesNew Manchester United signing Eric Bailly

Manchester United have this afternoon confirmed on their official website that defender Eric Bailly has joined the club from Villarreal.

New Red Devils boss Jose Mourinho will be looking to strengthen his side this summer, and he has landed his first signing in centre back Bailly.

Picture Supplied by Action Images

Bailly, 22, has enjoyed a meteoric rise to stardom in the last couple of years. On the books with Espanyol as a teenager, Bailly made just five first-team appearances for the La Liga side, but impressed enough to convince Villarreal to sign him in January 2015.

The Ivory Coast international - who has 15 caps for his country - became a key part of the Villarreal defence, helping the Yellow Submarine reach the semi-finals of the Europa League, and their exit after a 3-0 away defeat to Liverpool came when Bailly was out of the game.

Picture Supplied by Action Images

Strong and fast, Bailly has earned rave reviews for his performances in Spain, and whilst he is still raw, there is plenty to be excited about for the Red Devils and manager Mourinho.

Bailly has penned a four-year deal at Old Trafford with the option of another two years, and is the first African player to sign for United since Mame Biram Diouf's move from Molde in January 2010.

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

Tipped for a bright future, Bailly could now form a long-term partnership with Chris Smalling in the heart of the United defence, and he spoke to the club's official website after the deal was confirmed.

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

Manager Mourinho also offered his thoughts, making a bold claim about his new central defender - he thinks Bailly can become one of the best central defenders in the world.

"Eric is a young central defender with great natural talent. 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," added Mourinho.

Are you excited by United's new signing Eric Bailly?

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch