Villarreal defender Eric Bailly is set to become Jose Mourinho's first signing at Manchester United. The Portuguese tactician returned to management just months after being sacked from Chelsea as he will be at the helm at Old Trafford from the 2016/17 season.
According to the Mirror, the 22-year-old is keen on completing a switch to the Premier League in the summer transfer window. Arsenal signed Gabriel Paulista from the Spanish side in January 2015 and Bailly replaced him at Villarreal in that window, having joined them from Espanyol.
Marcelino's side finished fourth in the La Liga last season and they had the fourth best defensive record in Spain's top flight club competition. The Ivory Coast international has been one of the integral players of Villarreal's back four that saw them qualify for next season's Champions League and reach the Europa League semi-final.
A source told the Mirror that Bailly is not willing to turn down an opportunity to sign for United.
"As a boy everyone knows clubs like Manchester United and this will be realisation of a dream for Eric. These are things that you cannot say no to, and Villarreal know that," a source close to the Mirror explained.
The 20-time English champions are not the only club interested in securing Bailly's signature. Their local rivals Manchester City, Ligeu 1 winners Paris Saint-Germain and La Liga giants Barcelona are all after landing the central defender.
The Guardian reports a fee has been agreed between the Red Devils and Villarreal for the transfer of Bailly's move to the Premier League. The fee could reach up to £30m ($43.5m) as the African defender is set to join United.
It is believed United have offered to pay a fee of £15m up front and that could rise up to £30m after including performance-related clauses. The fee structure has not been accepted by Villarreal and are now negotiating over the structure of the deal as they are willing to allow their player join United.