What Leon Bailey will bring to Aston Villa

04 August 2021 04:15

While some Aston Villa fans will remain determined to believe that Jack Grealish will be wearing claret and blue next season, football just isn't that romantic sometimes.

With the 25-year-old at the centre of summer-long speculation linking him with Manchester City - a move which is undeniably edging ever closer to completion - injecting fresh and exciting attacking talent into the squad has been necessary.

Leon Bailey can succeed at Aston Villa | Mika Volkmann/Getty Images

First came a successful pursuit of Emiliano Buendia from Norwich, and now Aston Villa boss Dean Smith can welcome Leon Bailey into the attacking contingent of his squad.

As the Jamaican winger's transfer was eventually finalised on Wednesday, the Villa faithful had reason to be brimming with anticipation at the thought of the 23-year-old turning out for their side when the 2021/22 season gets underway.

While a Grealish-shaped hole in Smith's squad is by no means replaceable, Bailey, for whom the Villans will pay £30m, brings a whole lot to the table.

The thought of missing their current captain's drive might be terrifying to Villa fans, but the former Leverkusen winger is no stranger to being a spark within his side. During the 2020/21 campaign, the 23-year-old ranked tenth in the Bundesliga for progressive carries, eighth for carries into the final third and seventh for carries into the penalty area - a directness that has made defences so afraid of Grealish in the Premier League.

If there are any doubts over Bailey's ability when faced up with defenders one-on-one, only two men managed to dribble past more opposition players than the former Leverkusen winger throughout last season's Bundesliga - Amine Harit and Jadon Sancho. Yeah, he's pretty decent on the ball.

The Jamaican is also a creative threat, having registered nine assists in Germany's top flight throughout 2020/21. Combined with his blistering and direct running, the clinical creativity Bailey possesses makes him a threat to any opposition and, while Grealish will be missed, the effect of Villa's new man will surely be felt.

Although Bailey's 2020/21 Bundesliga haul of nine goals isn't the most eye-catching return for a forward, he undoubtedly knows where the goal is - even if he has room for improvement when it comes to actually tucking the ball away.

The 23-year old managed to put a very respectable 38.3% of all his efforts on target and registered 0.97 accurate attempts per 90 minutes - as a comparison, that's in the same region as Raheem Sterling and Edinson Cavani last term.

The stats speak for themselves; Bailey is a class act who is able to turn a naturally electric, consistently direct and breathtakingly attacking style of play into tangible results.

Along with the sheer quality he possesses, the Villans' new man is also a fierce competitor who is determined to improve, develop and achieve success in England's top tier. At 23, he suits his new club's situation of lofty ambition and has the time, as well as the class, to thrive in an exciting Villa side.

Source: 90min