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Jose Mourinho seems to have taken into his new role as Manchester United manager like a fish to water. The Portuguese has already landed his first signing for the club a little more than a week after taking over the reins of power at the Theatre of Dreams. Eric Bailly- a natural center-back from Villarreal- becomes the first signing under the Jose Mourinho era at Manchester United; a vivid gesture that ‘The Special One’ already has his sights set on next season.
The 22-year old- who hails from Ivory Coast- has reportedly been signed for £30 million on a four year deal.
Although relatively unknown to avoid followers of English football, Manchester United supports are drooling with delight because of Mourinho’s impeccable judgment of defenders as witnessed in previous clubs like Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan.
As such, here are four facts about Manchester United’s newest acquisition.
He may be a central defender, but Eric Bailly is a natural hard tackler- much like the legend Paul Scholes.
The Ivorian never shies from putting a foot forward but just like Paul Scholes, the outcome is just as bad when he miscues a tackle.
That could pose as an occupational hard for a defender- more so a center-back- but we quite frankly won’t see him do anything new that the incomparable Nemanja Vidic never did.
He is to date the most accomplished, hard tackling defender in the history of the Red devils.
The arrival of Eric Bailly comes soon after Marcus Rashford and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson committed their long term futures to Manchester United with new contract extensions: an indication that the gaffer looks to rebuild the side from the ground up with youngsters.
With 35 appearances for Villarreal last season, it’s hard to believe that Bailly is only 22-years old.
He will join the long list of prodigies as the likes of Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard and Luke Shaw that will form the spine of Manchester United for years to come.
Fast and powerful
At 22, Bailly already has a title to his name: albeit with his national team. The defender played all the games as Ivory Coast went all the way to win the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.
To add onto his physically imposing presence of standing at 6 feet 1.5 inches, Bailly is as fast as a lightning bolt.
Veritably, many Spanish pundits have attributed his move to England on his physique and demeanor rather than his natural skill and finesse.
It’s not quite clear who Mourinho will pair the former La Liga marker alongside, but the fact remains that United will have fast pacing defenders in Eric Bailly, Luke Shaw and Antonio Valencia- who has evolved more over the years as a utility player.
Eric Bailly is known to be short tempered, but I reckon Jose Mourinho would never sign anyone he cannot be able to handle.
Harnessing him will be integral in determining his future at Old Trafford, and what better person for the job than ‘The Special One’ himself.
Written by Brian Humphrey
Follow Brian on Twitter @brihum
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