The Spanish newspaper say Barcelona could have signed Bailly for €25m but chose not to advance negotiations and that Borussia Dortmund had first choice but were outbid by Man United so decided to go for Marc Bartra instead.
News broke just a few days ago that United were in talks with Villarreal over the signing of the 22-year-old. The Ivory Coast defender helped Villarreal to a Europe League semi-final and to a third-place finish in La Liga, which is the first time the club have qualified for the Champions League in their 92 year history.
United have been in need of a centre-half for quite some time and had to make do with Daley Blind at the position for much of last year due to injuries. Blind was sufficient at the position but he is not a natural central defender and does not have the height or the athleticism to keep up with the better strikers in the league.
Chris Smalling had a good season but with no concrete option beside him struggled to adapt to all the changes. It is refreshing to see Mourinho come in with targets in mind and the initiative to go and chase young, highly-rated players.
United need to be proactive in the window if they are to keep up with Manchester City and Pep Guardiola and, with Mourinho at the helm, are doing just that.
Bailly, described as a traditional defender, will benefit from having the ball-playing Chris Smalling beside him and with Mourinho opting to play in a low-block, counter-attacking style could create the kind of defensive partnership that is extremely hard to breach. With Luke Shaw and Matteo Darmian on either side of them and a strong double pivot at the base of midfielder, United will be a lot more balanced than they were at any other point last year.