Eric Bailly hopes to play with Victor Lindelof at Manchester United

Eric Bailly said he'd relish the chance to play alongside of Victor Lindelof at Manchester United should the club make a move to bring the defender in from Benfica during the winter window.

Lindelof, 22, was linked with a move to Old Trafford in December, with sources at the club saying they hoped to fast-track a move for the Sweden international.

However, Jose Mourinho said he isn't panicking to make a January purchase to offset the loss of Bailly while he's away on international duty with the Ivory Coast at the African Nations Cup.

"I hope to play with him. Hopefully he will help us," he told Fotbollskanalen in Abu Dhabi after the Ivory Coast's fightback 2-1 win against Sweden in a pre-ANC friendly.

"He is a very good player. He has great qualities and will certainly do well if he comes to us."

Bailly admits the possible arrival of Lindelof would add to competition for first-choice places in the United back line, but thinks it's ultimately a win for the club to land another young talent.

He said: "We have many good central defenders -- Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones -- but I hope I get to play with Lindelof.

"I don't have a guaranteed place and I know I have to be good to play. We're all fighting to play. I think we have done well. We have done our best.

"The day we get to play, if it comes, we must take advantage of that opportunity. I think we would fit well together."

Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha -- making his Ivory Coast bow -- assisted on the winning goal against Sweden, while Bailly watched on from the bench ahead of their tournament opener against Togo on Jan. 16.