Eric Bailly became Jose Mourinho’s first signing at Manchester United on Wednesday, the defender signing a four-year contract at Old Trafford.
A reported fee of £30million secured his services from Villarreal and the 22-year-old is understandably relishing his new challenge in the Premier League.
Mourinho described the centre-back as “a defender with great natural talent”, but Bailly – who is still awaiting his work permit – is a bit of an unknown to most United fans.
Here we take a look at some of Bailly’s standout stats from 2015-16 that convinced United to splash the cash so early in the transfer window.
25 – Bailly was a regular feature in Villarreal’s starting line-up throughout the campaign, making 25 appearances in the Liga as Marcelino’s side finished fourth.
73 – The central defender won 73 per cent of the 44 tackles he made in La Liga.
2,024 – In his 25 league appearances, which were all starts, Bailly spent over 2,000 minutes on the pitch for Villarreal.
65 – The Ivorian showed good anticipation on 65 occasions to step in and intercept the ball.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) June 8, 2016
Bailly’s stats may be impressive, but he will need to step up to another level if he is to become a first-team regular at United.
Last season’s central defensive duo – Daley Blind and Chris Smalling – outperformed him every area.
Both Blind (95) and Smalling (55) made more tackles, and were in the right place at the right time to make crucial clearances (Blind 119, Smalling 180 – Bailly made 117).
And what could be a real concern for United fans is Bailly’s quality with the ball at his feet. He made 778 passes in the league last term with 77 per cent of them finding the intended target.
Blind and Smalling particularly outshone him in this area, the former having completed 84 per cent of his 2,029 passes, while Smalling finished the campaign with 82 per cent – having made 1,533 passes.
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