Jose Mourinho, the new manager at Manchester United, looks to have made his first signing since joining the club.
Villareal’s central defender Eric Bailly is set to arrive at United in time for next season, in a transfer deal said to be worth around £30 million ($44 million), according to the BBC.
Bailly, 22, joined Spanish club Villareal in 2015, and has made a name for himself in defence, with two clean sheets against Champions League finalists Atletico Madrid.
He also kept Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale at bay in a 1-0 win against Real Madrid in December.
Bailly’s main weakness seems to be behaviour. He was sent off in his Europa League debut against Sevilla, and received 10 yellow cards and a red in the last La Liga season. On the international stage, he has made 15 appearances for his native Ivory Coast, who won the Africa Cup of Nations in 2015.
Other than the upcoming signing of Bailly, Mourinho has kept transfer plans close to his chest. There are rumours that Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic — one of the world’s most expensive players — could soon join too, following the imminent expiration of his contract at Paris Saint-Germain.
Ibrahimovic has coyly suggested in press conferences that he’d like to be a part Mourinho’s team, but nothing has been confirmed, and there are rumours that Ibra might retire after the European Championships, which start on Friday.
Manchester United dismissed Dutch manager Louis van Gaal last month, amid rumours of Mourinho’s imminent appointment. The team had a disappointing Premiership, failing to qualify for the Champions League after finishing 5th.