Manchester United are close to agreeing a £31m deal for Villarreal’s 22-year-old Ivory Coast central defender Eric Bailly, according to Spanish news outlet AS. It is believed that both clubs are set to conclude the negotiation process, with a fee of 40 million euro (approx £31 million) being agreed for the player’s signature.
While the suggested fee is a lot for a talent unproven in the Premier League, Bailly has the necessary requirements to become a success at Old Trafford. A centre-back by trade, his greatest asset is his extreme pace. However, his tall physique also makes him adept in the air, as well as confident in the challenge.
He made 25 appearances in La Liga last term, averaging 1.8 tackles and 2.6 interceptions per match. However, some fans will highlight his lack of discipline during this time, as he picked up nine yellow cards. Meanwhile, his ability to play out from the back is somewhat under question, as he proved accurate with just 76.9% of his passes.
Of course, a fee of £30 million, or more, could probably see the likes of John Stones or Raphael Varane end up at Manchester United, so the club need to be sure that Bailly is worth that kind of money. Nonetheless, at 22 years of age he is still a raw talent. If Mourinho can develop him at Old Trafford, he looks to have what it takes to be one of the best in his position in the league.
Meanwhile, the Sunday Mirror believe the club are ready to ditch Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger after just one season at Old Trafford. The Germany international endured an injury-plagued debut season in the North West and it is understood newly-appointed United boss Jose Mourinho is considering cutting his stay at the club short.
Schweinsteiger made 31 appearances for United following his switch from Bayern Munich last summer, scoring once. However, in the games he was fit for the Old Trafford outfit, he dictated the play more than any of his team-mates. Averaging 59.3 passes per match, he was often at the heart of possession for Louis van Gaal’s side.
The German’s experience is perhaps most valuable to Jose Mourinho, considering his continued success at both club and international level. If the newly-appointed manager wants to taste Premier League success in his first season at Old Trafford, Schweinsteiger is exactly the kind of player he needs in the dressing room – someone who has been there and done it before.
Finally, the Daily Mail suggest that Sweden will allow striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic to leave their Euro 2016 training camp to sign for Manchester United. With the 34-year-old expected to the Premier League and national team boss Erik Hamren indicated he would be happy to allow Ibrahimovic out to complete a move on one of his days off.
In a title winning season for Paris Saint Germain last summer, Ibrahimovic was once again outstanding. The maverick striker scored a somewhat unbelievable 38 goals in 31 Ligue One appearances, while providing a further 13 assists. Meanwhile, in Europe, he netted five goals, providing a further three. He is set to be a very exciting signing for the Red Devils.