Mourinho chasing Man Utd star – and it is a deal that could be done

Robin Bairner
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Jose Mourinho was installed as Roma head coach earlier this week and already the former Manchester United manager is ready to raid his former club for talent.

Mourinho departed Old Trafford in December 2018 and subsequently went on to manage Tottenham, but the Portuguese has not forgotten what he left behind with the Red Devils.

Indeed, if he has things his way, it could be a Man Utd defender who could be one of his first additions since moving back to Serie A.

Il Tempo, a local Rome paper, reports that Mourinho has made Ivory Coast centre-back Eric Bailly one of his top targets for the summer.

Why Bailly to Roma is possible

The 27-year-old Bailly has been at Man Utd for five years but has struggled to hold down a regular place because of persistent injury concerns. Indeed, he has made only 66 Premier League appearances over the course of his stay in England.

Nevertheless, Mourinho is a fan of his. Bailly has played 66 games under the Portuguese coach – more than under any other boss by some distance.

Meanwhile, he is set to drop down the pecking order at Old Trafford. It is well known that Man Utd are on the hunt for another centre-back this summer, with Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane standing a strong chance of moving to the Red Devils in the weeks ahead.

Eric Bailly could leave Man Utd despite new contract

Although Bailly is presently ahead of Victor Lindelof in the thinking of the club, both players have contracts that expire in 2024 and would become vulnerable to being sold with the arrival of another defender. Even with Phil Jones struggling due to injury, Axel Tuanzebe represents their fourth senior option at centre-back.

Perhaps the biggest issue is Roma being able to raise the funds for a deal amid the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Man Utd do have recent history of doing business with Roma by way of Chris Smalling’s loan and subsequent transfer to the Serie A club. Mourinho will hope that the trail blazed by the England defender can be replicated now by Bailly.