Eric Bailly has been confirmed as Jose Mourinho’s first Manchester United signing after the Villarreal defender passed his medical at Old Trafford.
The Ivory Coast international, who has only played 40 top-flight matches in his relatively short career to date, joins on a four-year deal subject to obtaining a work permit and cost United a fee of £30 million.
While the fee is a total worth baulking at, Red Devils fans will certainly embrace Mourinho’s willingness to trust in younger talent. The Portuguese head coach arrives with a reputation for failing to incorporate less inexperienced players into his starting line-ups.
However, the emergence of a number of young, talented prospects during the unsuccessful reign of Louis van Gaal looks to have been enough to convince Mourinho that following the traditional ‘United way’ is worth the gamble.
If the success of Anthony Martial in his debut season is anything to go by, then the Old Trafford faithful will do well to place their faith in Bailly, who at 22 years of age has attracted considerable interest.
The majority of Premier League viewers had never head of Martial before his arrival – much like the club’s latest signing – and yet he turned out to be a huge success. Who is to say Bailly won’t turn out the same.
The Ivory Coast is a raw talent, there is no doubt, but he has all the attributes to succeed at the highest level of English football, providing he can quickly adjust to the pace and physicality of the Premier League.
Here is how Twitter reacted to the news of Eric Bailly’s arrival:
As is often the case these days, the player himself was one of the first to respond to the news…
— Eric Bailly (@ericbailly24) June 8, 2016
Some believed signing the 22-year-old is a good piece of business for the Red Devils…
People said Mourinho dosent pay interest in youth. He's bought Eric Bailly 22. Declined Vardy so he can give Rashford 18 more time #mufc
— Owen???????? (@OwenKnowlez) June 8, 2016
Others were less convinced…
You can tell United fans know nothing about a player, when we tweet fokol excitement about him ?? Oh well. Welcome anyway Eric Bailly.
— Shaun Bez (@shaunbezzo) June 8, 2016
I have seen Eric Bailly play, he hardly worths around 12m , and Man United ended up buying them in 25m.
Simply inflating football market.
— Haroon (@ViscaHaroon) June 8, 2016
Eric Bailly? £30 million? Never heard of him.
— Tom Hill (@tomhill04) June 8, 2016
Despite the split opinion regarding his potential, almost everyone had something to say regarding his transfer fee…
— PANDA ? (@LAKESIDE_MMG) June 8, 2016
Eric Bailly has not even played 100 club games and he has cost £30m. Wow! Transfer fees are going to be outrageous in this window! #Bailly
— Crichton (@MattyCrichton) June 8, 2016
Eric Bailly is the player who replaced Gabriel at Villarreal. He cost them £4.4m 18 months ago, and is now going for £30m. Crazy market.
— JB™? (@gunnerpunner) June 8, 2016
30m is a lot for Eric Bailly, think Villarreal would of let him go cheaper, here's hoping he turns out to as good as Rio or Nemanja #MUFC
— Pete Read (@_PeterRead94) June 8, 2016
Ultimately, we can only be sure of one thing: most people still don’t have a bloody clue who he is…
"Never seen Eric Bailly play – in fact, I didn't even know he existed until a few days ago – but hey, that won't stop me moaning" -> Twitter
— Nashat (@Nashat_Hassan) June 8, 2016
Eric Bailly. It's a bit like when Vidic & Evra signed….. Never even heard of him
— Curtis (@CurtiZSe7eN) June 8, 2016
Eric Bailly is one of those players that I have never heard of before this summer so we'll just have to wait and see ? #mufc
— Paul McGrath (@paulpmcg) June 8, 2016