Manchester United Football Club made some huge signings over the summer, with Jose Mourinho bringing in Zlatan Ibrahimovic on a free transfer, and sanctioning a world record fee to land Paul Pogba. However, the best bit of business the Old Trafford club made this summer came in the form of a relative unknown in Eric Bailly.
The 22-year-old is an Ivorian centre-back, who came from Villareal out in the Liga BBVA. He cost Manchester United somewhere around the £30million mark, but the fans were willing to trust Jose’s judgement on this one.
His talent became evident throughout pre-season as he looked extremely solid in all of the games he played in – then competitive football came around. In his first four games, Bailly won the club official Man of the Match award in all of them, showing just how good he is already. If he continues to develop at this rapid rate, we could well have one of the best centre-backs on our hands over the next couple of years.
It feels as though he has completely transformed the Manchester United back four after just a few weeks which really is a special accomplishment, and he is without doubt one of the first names on the team-sheet. We’ve decided to take a closer look at just how he has improved Jose Mourinho’s side.
Last term, Manchester United’s defence was solid but often made mistakes because of staying on the backfoot. That will certainly change this season solely down to Eric Bailly. He loves to chase the ball down and play with plenty of aggression. He will dive in, and as we’ve seen, he’ll win the football more often than not and get United going on the counter attack quickly.
This is something that we haven’t seen since Nemanja Vidic left the club, and his youthful exuberance has really been brilliant to watch over the first month of the Premier League season.
Ability to bring the ball out from defence
Although he does put the ball into Row-Z when needed, the 22-year-old is brilliant at recognising the situation, and knowing when he can bring the ball forward and pick out that pass. His calmness when in possession is super, and if given time he will punish you by either going past his man and taking one opponent out of the game or finding his teammates who are in a better position than him.
Supreme squad depth
United were looking pretty thin on the ground in terms of out-and-out defenders last season, hence why Louis van Gaal utilised Daley Blind back there for the most part. Now Jose Mourinho has brought Bailly in without looking to sell anyone else. This gives the club another dimension to their back four, and allows the gaffer to chop and change the personnel to suit a specific game.
To sum up, Manchester United have a real gem of a player on their hands in Bailly, there is no doubt about that. He’s improved the Red Devils overall look of the squad pretty drastically already, and if he keeps learning from Jose Mourinho and he rest of his coaching staff, he’ll no doubt be something special.
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