Manchester United have announced the signing of Ivory Coast centre-back Eric Bailly from Villarreal on a four-year contract.
The transfer fee is so far undisclosed but is believed to be Â£20million plus with bonus payments potentially taking the final amount to above Â£27million.
Bailly joins subject to obtaining a work permit and would need to have played in 75 per cent of Ivory Coast’s matches over the past two years because his country are currently ranked 36th in the FIFA list.
However, United, who are 9/2 to win the Premier League title with Titan Bet, are confident that the defender, who appeared in all of the Elephants’ matches when they won the African Cup of Nations last year, should squeeze through.
Even if he failed the initial application, they would probably get him through on appeal as his domestic achievements with Villarreal and in the Europa League would count in his favour.
The 22-year-old said: “It is a dream come true to be joining Manchester United. To play football at the highest level is all I have ever wanted to do.
“I want to progress to be the best that I can be and I believe working with [manager] Jose Mourinho will help me develop in the right way and at the right club. I am looking forward to meeting my new team-mates and to starting this new chapter of my life.”
Mourinho said: “Eric is a young central defender with great natural talent. He has progressed well to date and has the potential to become one of the best around.
“We look forward to working with him to help nurture that raw talent and fulfil his potential. Eric is at the right club to continue his development.”