Football News

“The clubs are holding talks” — Leon Bailey’s father confirms Aston Villa are trying to sign Bayer Leverkusen star

By Ben Green

Published: 11:22, 29 July 2021

The stepfather of Bayer Leverkusen star Leon Bailey has confirmed Aston Villa are in talks with the German club over a possible transfer.

The Villans have not been static in this window so far, with Dean Smith already landing £30m-priced Emiliano Buendia from recently-promoted Norwich City, as well as Ashley Young on a free transfer from Italian champions Inter Milan.

Speculation that captain Jack Grealish could move to Manchester City for a nine-figure sum this summer has continued to gain considerable traction over the past few weeks, and if a deal does indeed materialise, then Smith will need reinforcements up front.

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Bailey, who recently competed in the Gold Cup with Jamaica, has continued to be linked with a move away from Bayer Leverkusen since he initially burst onto the scene in 2017/18, during which time the Kingston-born winger notched 12 goals and placed in Bundesliga’s ‘Team of the Season’.

The 23-year-old has just two years remaining on his current contract at the BayArena, and while he has previously been linked with the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ as well as a host of elite European clubs, he could finally be heading towards the English top flight, though not to one of the big hitters.

Bailey’s stepfather, Craig Butler, confirmed negotiations are underway between Villa and Leverkusen, but stressed the Birmingham-based club are not the only potential suitors interested, explaining to BILD: “The clubs are holding talks.

“There are different interested parties from the Premier League. We are checking the options,” he added.

“It is important that Leon takes the right step. Therefore it has not yet been decided whether he will change this transfer period or later.

“Leon feels at home in Leverkusen. There will only be a change if everyone is satisfied.”

Why Villa want Bailey

The prospect of Bailey and Grealish linking up together is enough to make any Villa fan giddy at the prospect, with the former proving, in the German top flight, that he is capable of producing in the final third, as well as getting the crowd up off their feet.

Not only is he blessed with a supreme close control, that all-important low centre of gravity and a refined dribbling quality, the crowd-pleaser also has an end product, having a direct hand in 17 Bundesliga goals last season, the most of any Bayer Leverkusen player.

The Jamaican winger netted nine times and registered a further eight assists, while he also created squad-highs for chances created (48) and completed take-ons (74), with that latter metric placing him fourth overall in the Bundesliga, just three dribbles below Jadon Sancho (77).