Well, it looked as though swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic was going to be José Mourinho's first siging as Manchester United manager, but that isn't the case. While, according to reports, the official signing of Ibrahimovic has been delayed to allow the player to collect a "loyalty bonus" from Paris St. Germain, United have moved quickly to tie up the capture of Villarreal defender Eric Bailly.
Having completed a medical on Tuesday, Bailly has put pen to paper on a four year contract at Old Trafford, with United having a paid an undisclosed fee for the 22-year-old centre-back -- however, that fee is believed to be around £30 million, divided between an initial sum followed by conditional bonuses, a la the Anthony Martial deal last sumer.
To the surprise of pretty much everybody, rumours of United's interest in Bailly began to circulate in the Spanish press last weekend, and the Red Devils have wasted no time in getting their man -- sending United fans off on a YouTube highlights binge so that they can get to know the relatively unknown new arrival.
Bailly signed for Villarreal in January 2015, moving from Espanyol for just €5.7 million as a replacement for the Arsenal-bound Gabriel Paulista. The 15-cap Ivory Coast international -- regarded as one of the most promising young defenders in Europe -- played 32 times for the Yellow Submarine last season, predominently at crentre-back, but also filling in twice at left-back, and twice on the right-hand side of the back four.
Stylistically, though still a raw talent, Bailly (pronounced "Bye-yee" by Spanish commentators) is quick, athletic and powerful. Standing at over six-foot tall, the young man has all of the requisite physicallity to cope with the demands of the Premier League. In addition to his physical attributes, Bailly is also confortable in posession and has the positional awareness of a much more experienced player.
With rumours flying around of high-profile, big-money purchases, Bailly may not be the most celebrated summer signing at Old Trafford this year, but he could well turn out to be one of the more astute.