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Defender Eric Bailly can become Manchester United great, insists Jose Mourinho

By Carl Markham

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho believes new centre-back Eric Bailly has the potential to become one of the best in the business.

The 22-year-old Ivory Coast international, who subject to a work permit has signed a four-year deal with the option of a two-year extension, is the Portuguese's first signing since taking over from Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford.

Mourinho has high hopes for the defender, who could reportedly cost United up to £30m.

"Eric is a young central defender with great natural talent," he said. "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 nurture that raw talent and fulfil his potential. Eric is at the right club to continue his development."

Bailly made 47 appearances in the 16 months he was with Villarreal after joining from Espanyol in January last year.

He has also won 15 caps for the Ivory Coast and was part of the 2015 African Nations Cup-winning side.

"It is a dream come true to be joining United," he said. "To play football at the highest level is all I have ever wanted to do.

"I want to be the best that I can be and 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 starting this new chapter."

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