Manchester United defender Eric Bailly has reportedly talked up rising international team-mate Franck Kessie within Old Trafford, with the Ivory Coast centre-back believing that the powerful Atalanta youngster could be the next Yaya Toure.

According to the Sun, Bailly recommended Kessie to manager Jose Mourinho and United had scouts in attendance to watch the 20-year-old at the recent Africa Cup of Nations.


Les Elephants, who were reigning champions going into the tournament, crashed out in the first round, but United are said to have been pleased with Kessie's displays nonetheless.

A source told the tabloid newspaper, "Bailly has flagged his international pal Kessie to the club. He thinks he could be the new Yaya. He was watched during the AFCON and they like what they see. There are other clubs looking at him as well."

Kessie recently spoke of being flattered by interest from the likes of United and Chelsea, while other high profile clubs such as Liverpool, Arsenal, Juventus and Roma are all rumoured to be keeping a watchful eye on his progress.

Atalanta BC v Cagliari Calcio - Serie A

Formerly of Stella Club back in his homeland, Kessie has enjoyed a breakout season in 2016/17, starring for Atalanta as they continue to fight for an unexpected European place.

Kessie has scored six goals from 19 Serie A appearances (17 as a starter) at the heart of the midfield. He is strong on the ball and athletically built, both qualities Mourinho likes to have in his teams, although he understandably remains somewhat raw at this early stage of his career.

United have long been rumoured to be in the market for a central midfielder this summer as Michael Carrick's career winds down. Monaco's £35m-rated and marginally older Tiemoue Bakayoko is another possible option that has been mentioned.

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