Villarreal central defender Eric Bailly is set to be Jose Mourinho’s first signing as Manchester United manager.
Bailly is due to have a medical this week and terms are thought to have been agreed with the 22-year-old, who will cost the Red Devils about £30m.
He has played 40 times in La Liga, the first five of which were for Espanyol.
Bailly joined Villarreal for £4.4m in January 2015 and played in every game as Ivory Coast won the Africa Cup of Nations just weeks later.
It had been thought Zlatan Ibrahimovic would be Mourinho’s first signing since the Portuguese succeeded Louis van Gaal as United manager.
The Sweden striker, 34, is a free agent after leaving Paris St-Germain and hinted at the weekend he would make an announcement about his future on Tuesday.
But he has refused to elaborate, saying: “There is no confirmation. Keep wondering. I am enjoying the stories.”
Analysis – Spanish football expert Andy West
Bailly’s reputation has soared this season, which saw him play a key role as Villarreal sealed Champions League qualification, and it’s no surprise to see him make a big-money move this summer.
His prime asset is his extremely impressive physical presence, with his powerful aerial ability complimenting his pace and strength in the tackle.
The brave and determined 22-year-old has less than 50 league games under his belt, though, so United fans should perhaps not expect him to immediately become an automatic starter.
He can sometimes concede possession in dangerous areas by making bad decisions, and he doesn’t always show composure under pressure, but Bailly possesses all the physical tools and the rest should come with more experience.
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