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Will Eric Bailly be a good signing for Manchester United?

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With Manchester United reportedly set to sign Villarreal defender Eric Bailly for a fee of around £30 million, talk has already turned to where he will figure in Jose Mourinho's new-look United, come the start of next season.

A centre-back by trade, but also capable of playing at right back when called upon, Bailly has made something of a name for himself in Spain as a talented, ball-playing defender capable of keeping pace with some of the world's most fearsome attacking players.

At just 22, the Ivorian defender is still very much in the formative years of his budding football career. Indeed, the pacey centre-back has only made 72 league appearances across his whole career - just 46 of which came playing in La Liga.

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Despite his relative inexperience, however, Bailly - and his much-praised defensive partnership with Victor Ruiz - played a key part in helping Villarreal finish fourth in this season's La Liga and in doing so, helped the club qualify for Champions League football once again.

With United facing a similar challenge under new manager Jose Mourinho, Bailly will at least be familiar with the pressure and weight of expectation that comes with playing for a successful team.

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Stories of Bailly's impressive partnership with fellow defender Ruiz will also come as music to the ears of Man United fans, who have long since demanded a true replacement for both Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand to be found.

With Chris Smalling's impressive performances remaining one of the few redeeming factors from the last two seasons, United fans will now be hoping that the two players can strike up an equally successful partnership.

Were he to sign for the club, Bailly would bring pace, athleticism, and one of the best records in La Liga for preventing players from dribbling past him - this having happened just six times all last season, compared to 29 occasions for current United defender Daley Blind.

FC Sevilla v Villarreal CF - UEFA Europa League Round of 16

Bailly would also bring the ability to step up and out of defence with the ball at his feet, much in the same way that Rio Ferdinand used to do for the club.

Combine this athleticism and technical ability, with the no-nonsense, tough-tackling approach that Smalling has come to epitomise over the past 24 months, and it certainly seems the pair will be compliment each nicely in Mourinho's new look United.

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Topics:
Wayne Rooney
Daley Blind
Football
Premier League
Chris Smalling
Manchester United
Jose Mourinho

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