Here’s an interesting one – Manchester United have reportedly agreed a fee of around €40m for Villarreal defender Eric Bailly.
News broke via Spanish publication AS earlier that the Old Trafford club were in talks with the Spanish side for Bailly, and went as far as to say that a deal in the region of €40m (£31m) for the Ivory Coast international.
Guillem Balague of Sky Sports picked up the report later in the evening as news filtered through to the UK-based media, and now it looks as though a deal is in fact imminent.
— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) June 4, 2016
BREAKING NEWS: Sky Sources: Manchester United are in talks with Villarreal to sign Ivory Coast international Eric Bailly. #SSNHQ
— Sky Sports News HQ (@SkySportsNewsHQ) June 4, 2016
Bailly, a €5m signing from Espanyol in 2015 (as a replacement for Arsenal singing Gabriel Paulista), played a big role in in Villarreal’s fourth place finish in La Liga last season – securing Champions League football in the process.
The AS report states that both Leicester and Manchester City were interested in his signature, but Mourinho has apparently won his first battle against new City boss Pep Guardiola. Sky claim that Barcelona and PSG are also interested in the promising defender.
€40m may seem excessive for a defender who has played less than 40 senior matches in his career, but such is the esteem that Manchester United hold him in that they have seemingly seen fit to trigger his release clause in order to ensure his signature.
Given the bluster surrounding the deal to take Swedish international Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Old Trafford, it has been something of a surprise that Manchester United have been able to keep this deal relatively quiet.
There is little indication of a timeframe as to when the transfer can be completed, but if a fee has in fact been agreed, then it is only a matter of time before the 22 year old becomes José Mourinho’s second signing since becoming Manchester United last week.
It would also surely push Dutch international Daley Blind further towards the exit door. Blind has reportedly been told he is surplus to requirements at Old Trafford under the new regime, with Barcelona apparently interested in the versatile player.