Eric Bailly
Bailly becomes the first signing of the Mourinho era at Old Trafford. Getty

Manchester United have completed the signing of Villarreal defender Eric Bailly, subject to a work permit. Bailly, 22, has signed a four-year contract at Old Trafford with the option to extend it by a further two years. He becomes the first arrival of the Jose Mourinho era at Old Trafford.

"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," Bailly told United's official website.

"I want to progress to be the best that I can be and I believe working with 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."

United have moved swiftly to sign the defender, who was also being strongly considered by Barcelona, according to Spanish publications Mundo Deportivo and Sport.

The Ivory Coast international joined Villarreal in January 2015 to replace Gabriel Paulista following his move to Arsenal, going onto make 47 appearances for the club.

Mourinho, named Louis van Gaal's successor in May, believes Bailly has all the attributes needed to become one of the best centre-halves in Europe.

"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," the United boss said.

"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."

According to AS, United could end up paying £31m including add ons for their new defender.