Roma manager Jose Mourinho was knocked back by Arsenal in the January transfer window and is now targeting a reunion with his first signing at Manchester United
After once again failing to sign Granit Xhaka for Roma, Jose Mourinho has turned to Manchester United ‘s Eric Bailly.
Bailly was Mourinho’s first signing when he was manager of United, costing £30million to bring in from Villarreal in June 2016.
Following a bright start, the defender has failed to recapture the form he showed in his first season at Old Trafford due to a mix of inconsistent performances and woeful lucky with injuries.
But according to reports, Mourinho could offer Bailly a route out of Manchester, with the Giallorossi boss targeting him after their failure to take Xhaka from Arsenal.
Mourinho wants to loan the Ivory Coast international, who has only started six games across all competitions this term, for the 2022-23 campaign with an option to buy.
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Il Romanista, via Sport Witness, even add that Bailly was ‘certainly offered’ to Roma during the January transfer window but the deal did not materialise on the basis of financial reasons.
A month on, though, and the Giallorossi are set to go in for the 27-year-old again thanks to their manager’s desire for a reunion in the Italian capital.
Mourinho has been keen to shake up his squad this season, repeatedly claiming that the players he currently has as his disposal are not good enough to compete at the top of Serie A.
In January, the 59-year-old brought in Ainsley Maitland-Niles from Arsenal – but that was not his preferred midfield target who plays his football at the Emirates.
Throughout the 2021 summer transfer window, Xhaka was linked with a move to Roma as the Portuguese’s No.1 target, although the two clubs were unable to agree a deal.
And while they hope to sign the Switzerland captain this coming summer, Bailly’s arrival seems more likely thanks to the pulling power Mourinho demonstrated six years ago to sway him from joining rivals Manchester City.
“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,” Bailly revealed.
“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.”