Inconsistent performances for club and country could leave whizzy winger seeking a new club
Leon Bailey’s future with ambitious Aston Villa is up in the air with head coach Unai Emery seemingly keen to replace the Reggae Boy with one of his former team-mates.
He has produced inconsistent displays for the English Premier League (EPL) outfit since signing a four-year deal in August 2021. And his recent hit ‘n’ miss international performances during the CONCACAF Gold Cup did the 25-year-old no favours.
Emery has made a massive impact with the Villains, since replacing head coach Steven Gerrard last October, by steering them to seventh place in the EPL to earn a UEFA Europa Conference League play-off spot.
The wily Spaniard will be desperate to strengthen his squad, with Bayer Leverkusen and France star winger Moussa Diaby firmly on Emery’s radar.
The winger, who played under Emery at Paris Saint-Germain, is due to shortly kick-off pre-season training with the German Bundesliga side. If there’s going to be a deal it will be soon, and Bailey will be pondering his future.
It’s understood that a £42m offer has been tabled by Villa, which if accepted puts Bailey down the pecking order at the EPL club and effectively on the sidelines.
Bailey had previously been a wanted man by the likes of elite EPL clubs such as Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United before he penned his £5.2million base salary contract with Villa.
However, only producing flashes of brilliance rather than on a persistent basis means that top teams aren’t likely to be interested as Bailey can’t consistently deliver the goods.
His performance during Jamaica’s timid 3-0 Gold Cup semi-final defeat to eventual champions Mexico, highlighted his inexplicable inconsistency for both club and country.
Bailey was largely ineffective against Mexico. He lost possession 17 times, won seven of the 14 tackles, was accurate with just two of his five crosses and produced only a single shot — which was off target.
Should he stay in the EPL then at least Everton and Wolves could step in, because they were reportedly clamouring for Bailey’s signature before he joined Villa.
He’s only made 35 appearances for Villa, having been out of favour under Gerrard as well as a string of injuries, bagging just five goals. So his value will not be particularly high despite his age, should Emery decide to shelve the Kingston-born winger.
Emery has demanded reliability from his squads wherever he has worked, and because Bailey seems incapable of this then Diaby could fill his boots.
Diaby was on target in Europe last season, notching two goals during the Champions League group stages and adding a further three in the Europa League knockout rounds.
Bailey, who is expected to shine in attack but rarely does, only managed one goal during Jamaica’s Gold Cup campaign. Following his extended international break, Bailey has been given extra holiday time by Emery before his pre-season return.
Whether Bailey will return to Villa lies very much in the balance, with a summer move potentially on the cards for the former Phoenix All Stars Academy product.
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