There was much interest in Bailly in 2016, with the defender having produced some impressive performances for Villarreal, and Pep Guardiola’s City were among the clubs considering a move for the defender.
However, Eric made the decision to join United after he was contacted by Mourinho.
There were also suggestions that Barcelona wanted to sign Bailly but a deal didn’t materialise.
At the time when United secured a deal for Bailly, Mourinho had recently been appointed as the club’s manager and was seeking to strengthen his defence.
Bailly told Mundo Deportivo: ‘In the summer of 2016 there were many rumours.
‘I was in Ivory Coast, in the dining room at home with my mother when the phone rang. It was a Portuguese number; Mourinho.
‘He told me to come with him, that he liked me since he saw me with Espanyol and Villarreal.
Manchester City were also interested, but if Mourinho calls you, you can’t say no.
‘You can’t say no to Barca either. It just didn’t happen because the interest was not public or so explicit.’
Eric won the Europa League and the League Cup in his first season at United but he has endured much misfortune with injuries during his time at the club.
This season, for instance, Bailly has made just four appearances and is currently sidelined with a muscle injury. He also missed many games last season after having to undergo knee surgery.
In total Bailly has played 89 times for United but he has been prevented from having an extended run in the side for some time.