Jose Mourinho has made his first move in the transfer market as Manchester United manager with the Red Devils lodging a £30m bid for defender Eric Bailly, 22.
The Villarreal hierarchy believe negotiations to take the player to Old Trafford will be completed swiftly. United look set to beat off Arsenal, Bayern Munich and Manchester City, who all scouted the central defender last season.
The Ivory Coast international has 12 caps and joined Villarreal from Espanyol in January 2015 for £6m. His debut came in the Europa League defeat against Sevilla, during which he was sent off. Since then, he has improved and is now one of the most highly rated defenders in Spanish football.
With Daley Blind, 26, unsettled, Mourinho is looking to bring in reinforcements as he reshapes the United squad. They conceded the fewest goals in the top flight last season, but scored just one more than Sunderland who only avoided relegation by two points.
Reports this morning suggest that the club has sounded out Lionel Messi’s, 28, representatives about the possibility of a move, with the Argentine international currently on trial for tax evasion. However they have been left in no doubt that any deal hinges on United qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
With Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 31, deal to join this summer all but done, Mourinho is making a strong statement of intent ahead of his debut season as Manchester United manager.
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