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Transfer window closes with Eric Bailly Villarreal's only permanent addition

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Few had heard of Bailly before a couple of weeks ago, I expect, but Villarreal moved quickly to obtain his services.

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The Spanish transfer window has closed as far as bringing players in is concerned.  Villarreal loaned out Cani, Hernán Perez, and Javier Espinosa, took in Joel Campbell on loan, and sold Gabriel Paulista while obtaining the services of Eric Bailly, with a net profit of somewhere in the €12m range when the dust had settled.  (It is still theoretically possible to sell players, but no incoming ones can be registered with the Spanish league now).

Bailly's transfer fee has been reported as somewhere around €5.7 million for 50% of his rights, though I believe this includes €700k in debt forgiveness, as Espanyol still owe us some money from the selling on of Wakaso Mubarak.

Bailly's rise has been meteoric.  He joined Espanyol's cantera aged 17 having been discovered by a company, promoesport, that conducts programs to identify young African talent and bring them to European clubs.

A tall (6'2"), young (20 year-old) player who can play at both center back positions, he's playing for the Ivory Coast in the African Cup of Nations at the moment (their next match is Sunday against Algeria in the quarterfinals).  If the Elephants progress to the final, we shouldn't expect him back until after the 10th of February.

Just as we were sorry to lose Gabriel so soon after his promotion to the first team, Espanyol were not happy to lose Eric.  They were evidently hoping to keep him until June 30 when they could keep him for a minimal payment, and were not pleased that Villarreal (aided by Eric's agent, according to them) was able to force a sale.  But as someone on here said, Espanyol agreed to those contract terms (not having any money to pay for him at the time) so can hardly grouse too much at another club taking advantage of them.

He won't be available for a few matches, so expect Musacchio and Ruiz to bear the load when it comes to centerback play for the foreseeable future.