While Pep Guardiola faltered to land the Champions League title at Manchester once again, his spending nature suggested that the Spaniard could add a few jaw-dropping names to his world-class roster. Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish is expected to make a switch to Etihad after constantly knocking on the door’s of Europe’s elites.
If the Three Lions’ sensation puts pen to paper on a deal worth up to 100m, Villa’s would be left wanting a replacement for him now more than ever. And to resolve the issue, the Premier League outfit are set to sign 23-year-old Jamaican Leon Bailey from German giants Bayer Leverkusen for a reported fee of 30 million.
Aston Villa and Bayer Leverkusen have reached an agreement for the transfer of Leon Bailey subject to the player completing a medical and finalising personal terms.
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) July 31, 2021
The question still remains whether Leon Bailey would be able to replicate Grealish’s performances and help Villa succeed once again if their boyhood star finds a new home in Manchester. We at FootTheBall explore the qualities surrounding Leon Bailey, and why the Jamaican could solve Villa’s conundrum if Grealish bids adieu.
ABOUT LEON BAILEY
Leon Bailey is a Jamaican international who rose to prominence after scoring three goals in the qualifications and four more in the preliminary matches for Belgian team Genk in the second-biggest European competition. Big European teams were interested in him, but he chose Leverkusen in January 2017 for a sum of €15 million-plus add-ons.
He had a sluggish beginning to his Leverkusen tenure, but fortunes altered with the appointment of veteran general Heiko Herrlich, who gave Bailey opportunities to showcase his talent and the Jamaican didn’t disappoint earning the title of Bundesliga’s emerging sensation.
“Chelsea, Liverpool, Juventus, were all clubs that my name had then been linked with, contacted by. Everyone wanted me, but not everyone could get the paperwork in order. I did it (joining Genk) for my development, not the biggest club. I have to play at my age and progress.”
While the big guns came hunting for the Jamaican, the youngster refused to sign a contract with Stamford Bridge or Anfield. The youngster opted to play in the Belgian League with Genk polishing his raw talent and abilities before making a big-money transfer to a European elite.
But then he switched ships to Leverkusen which earned him the deserved praise and mention. The left-footed sensation has now been approached by Aston Villa after reports have suggested that their star captain could be departing from his boyhood club.
Besides his heroics in the Europa League, where he now ranks second in the list of leading scorers, Bailey has a history of running circuits around defences in the German championship. Bailey’s drive and eagerness to dominate a rival are one of the characteristics that distinguish him as the champion he is today.
He’s constantly on the lookout for opponents to pounce on and defeat with an explosion of speed he has up his sleeves. This summer, he has recorded 3.33 dribbles per game, demonstrating the stated capabilities.
Considering the idea that the Jamaican plays in a variety of areas throughout the field, his continuous and dangerous gallops have no stopping. With the attacking ability similar to the Dutch winger Arjen Robben, Bailey could give major headaches to Premier League outfits.
While his eagerness to sprint throughout the contest is impressive, it also enables him to hound the enemy into surrendering possession, if not blatantly disregarding their room or time to operate from the start. Considering his small physique, he has conquered most of the tackles he has participated in explaining why he could be a crucial defensive asset.
Aside from that, Bailey is a relentless machine that has helped him win 0.87 tackles and complete 0.70 interceptions per game. And when he’s introduced to the big boys’ table in the Premier League, these figures, without a doubt, would gradually increase.
— Leon Bailey ✞ (@leonbailey) December 13, 2020
Bailey’s defending and merciless propensity to move about the field permits the Jamaican to retrieve passes around the rival’s centre, while his scoop slam of a left foot enables him to convert the slightest of opportunities from the long-range.
While he could finish off the opportunities Villa’s midfield fabricates for the Jamaican, the left-footed youngster can chip in with chances too. Not to forget, that the flamboyance and flair that attracted scouts was because of his ability to deliver inch-perfect crosses.
He racked up a total of 8 assists in the Bundesliga this summer putting him in 15th place. While the statistic might not look impressive, the fact that he created 1.33 chances per 90 minutes, the Jamaican surpassed some great names above him in the catalogue.
While Grealish’s departure opens the door for Leverkusen’s Leon Bailey to arrive at Villa Park, the Jamaican needs to understand the Premier League is a different ball game. The 23-year-old won’t be darting against Luke Shaw or Joao Cancelo, the players who would eat him for breakfast.
Leon Bailey deal will be officially completed next week for £30m to Bayer Leverkusen. Aston Villa are offering Bailey a five-years contract, they’re set to reach the agreement on personal terms too. 🔴🇯🇲 #AVFC
Medical and official announcement next week. What a deal for Villa. pic.twitter.com/OsZeoOMzev
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) July 31, 2021
But something that falls in the Jamaican’s favour is that he isn’t earning a contract with the Red Devils or the Blues, The Claret and Blue will give him opportunities to succeed and won’t turn the Jamaican into a benchwarmer. And if Grealish joins hands with Manchester City, which he’s most likely too, Leon Bailey can make the purple and blue jersey his own and occupy the position once donned by Jack Grealish.