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Eric Bailly Reveals How Jose Mourinho Convinced Him To Join Manchester United

Eric Bailly Reveals How Jose Mourinho Convinced Him To Join Manchester United

The Ivorian defender had other options.

Josh Lawless

Josh Lawless

Eric Bailly has a huge role in the Manchester United backline tonight as the Ivorian is the only fit recognised central defender, with Daley Blind expected to partner him at the back following injuries to Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo.

The summer signing from Villarreal did have difficulty in the season and suffered a serious knee injury against Chelsea in United's last league defeat back in October but has grown to become a key figure at United, producing a series of strong, all-action defensive displays.

Things could have been much differently however, as Bailly was a man in demand in the summer transfer window.

Image: PA

He's revealed that he could well have been playing for Manchester City tonight in the Manchester derby, as they were interested him and he believed he was on his way until Jose Mourinho got in touch.

And remaining in La Liga and signing for Barcelona, who were in regular contact with the defender's agent, was also an option.

However, the 23-year old has revealed that Mourinho totally convinced him to move to Old Trafford following a phone call.

Image: PA

Speaking to The Mirror, he said:

"I was in the Ivory Coast, I got called from a ­Portuguese number, he ­introduced himself but I just didn't ­believe it at first.

"Before I came to Man United, it was City who had been watching me. In my mind, I was going there. But then everything changed.

"It felt like Mourinho was the one who really wanted me. He showed more interest, he rang me and that's why I'm at Man United.

"Man City contacted my agent, Barcelona as well were talking to my agent, but they weren't as interested in me as Mourinho. He really pushed for the move.

"Of course the club is ­important when you sign, but the manager is so important. If a player feels like the manager wants you, wants to sign you, it gives you extra motivation."

Image: PA

Bailly also added that the fact that Mourinho has a good track record with improving defenders played a part in him linking up with the Portuguese boss.

"I've always thought Mourinho was good coaching defenders. I used to watch ­Raphael Varane, saw the ­progression he made under Mourinho [at Real Madrid] and knew he could help me as a player."

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Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Manchester City, Jose Mourinho, Manchester United, Barcelona, Eric Bailly