Whilst Leon Bailey’s contract signing was unorthodox (unveiled in amateurish fashion in a what appeared to be a shed), it’s an exceptional piece of business for Villa, acquiring one of the Bundesliga’s most potent attackers.
Bailey, a full Jamaican international, joins having spent four and half years at German side Bayer Leverkusen. The 23 year old has signed up until 2025, for a reported fee believed to be in the region of £25m.
Bailey’s arrival brings with it an injection of much needed pace and trickery to Villa’s squad. Whilst few could deny that Watkins’ opening Premier League campaign was impressive, Smith’s lack of quality alternative attacking options made Villa predictable at times.
With once record signing Wesley’s future arguably uncertain, Villa have moved to strengthen signficantly up-front. The surprise announcement of Danny Ings’ transfer from Southampton, compliments that of Emi Buendia who joined from Norwich earlier in the window.
It’s always been somewhere that I’ve wanted to play, I feel like now is the right time and I’m excited about it … I’m a flair type of person, I like to entertain the fans, do my tricks, use my speed and make life difficult for defenders.LEON BAILEY (ASTON VILLA)
Bailey’s arrival stands as further illustration of the progressive improvements to the Villa squad. It’s not so long ago that the supporting cast to Villa’s strikeforce rested upon the likes of Jota and Trezeguet, with a goal-shy Keinan Davis in reserve.
The test for the almost 24 year old Bailey is to translate his eye-catching form from the German top-flight to the Premier League. For Villa, it represents another shift away from a single focal point of creativity (i.e. Grealish). The stakes are high, but evidently, so are the ambitions of the club’s owners.