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Manchester United sign Eric Bailly from Villarreal on four-year contract

Manchester United have confirmed the transfer of Eric Bailly from Villarreal, subject to the defender successfully obtaining a work permit.

Bailly, 22, becomes the first signing under new United manager Jose Mourinho, with sources telling ESPN FC that the deal is worth in the region of £30 million.

The Ivory Coast international joins on a four-year contract with the option to extend for a further two years, and he described the switch as "a dream come true."

"To play football at the highest level is all I have ever wanted to do," he told United's official website. "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 teammates and to starting this new chapter of my life."

He also described the club as the biggest in the world and said the style of English football will suit him.

Mourinho, meanwhile, praised Bailly's potential and believes he could turn into a real star.

"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," Mourinho said.

"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."

A number of clubs, including Manchester City, had been linked with the player before United became the favoured destination.

Eric Bailly joins Manchester United on a four-year contract with the option to extend for a further two years.

Bailly played most often as a centre-back for Villarreal but is versatile and has been capped 14 times by Ivory Coast, who he helped win the African Nations Cup in 2015.

He has many of the qualities that Mourinho looks for in defenders, being tall, powerful and assertive.

Bailly made 47 appearances for Villarreal since his move in January 2015 from cash-strapped Espanyol.

He impressed against Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid during Villarreal's La Liga campaign last season, when they finished fourth and also reached the Europa League semifinals.

Arindam is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @ARejSport.


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