Eric Bailly has discussed how his move to Manchester United came to fruition.
After impressing for Villarreal, Eric Bailly was linked with a number of clubs but Man United eventually won the race for the centre-half’s signature and brought him to Old Trafford for a reported fee of £30 million.
Jose Mourinho was in charge of United at the time and it was a phonecall from the The Special One that ultimately convinced Bailly to turn down Man City and sign for the Red Devils.
“In the summer of 2016 there were many rumours,” Bailly told Mundo Deportivo. “I was in Ivory Coast, in the dining room at home with my mother when the phone rang.
“It was a Portuguese number; Mourinho. He told me to come with him, that he liked me since he saw me with Espanyol and Villarreal. Manchester City were also interested, but if Mourinho calls you, you can’t say no.
“You can’t say no to Barça either. It just didn’t happen because the interest was not public or so explicit.”
Bailly has only made 89 appearances for United since his 2016 switch and his progress has been blighted by injury but when he’s managed to put together an extended run in the team, the Ivorian defender has impressed.
Bailly, 26, recently signed a contract extension that will keep him at Old Trafford until the end of the 2021/22 season.
While United have been linked with a move for another centre-half in January, Bailly will be hoping to stake his claim for a starting role alongside Harry Maguire.
Bailly continued: “We have known how to overcome adversity because the dressing room is with Solskjaer. He is a close guy who has a good relationship with everyone and understands the codes of the football player.
“At the back, he [Solskjaer] asks for concentration and more character. There are small mistakes that have been avoided. We need to pay more attention to plays that seem of little danger and that end up costing us too much.”