By Jonty Banks

7th Mar, 2023 | 5:10pm

Aston Villa transfer target Pedro Goncalves would be upgrade on Leon Bailey in attack

Aston Villa have been spotted scouting Sporting Lisbon winger Pedro Goncalves – a player who could provide the cutting edge that Leon Bailey has struggled to produce on a regular basis at Villa Park.

As reported by Portuguese newspaper Record [6 March, pg.7] Aston Villa’s scouts have been taking notes on the 24-year-old’s performances in Liga Portugal and he has been placed at the top of Unai Emery’s potential summer reinforcements.

Villa’s interest in Goncalves – also known as Pote – was shared again, with the club sending an emissary for Sporting’s away match against Portimonense on Saturday (4 March).

Unai Emery’s need for attacking signings in the summer has been well-documented after the departure of Danny Ings to West Ham in January left him extremely short-staffed in the final third.

The Spaniard’s lack of options was so grave that he was forced into recalling Bertrand Traore from his loan spell at Istanbul Basaksehir and promoting 17-year-old Kadan Young from the academy to fill up spaces in his match-day squad.

However, the links with Goncalves should excite the claret and blue faithful as he statistically looks to be a clear upgrade on Jamaican attacker Bailey.

So far this season, Goncalves has scored 12 goals and provided six assists from 22 games compared to Bailey’s six total goal contributions in the Premier League.

However, even beyond the obvious goal-scoring numbers, the Portuguese attacker continues to post strong numbers. On average per game, Bailey has only managed to have 1.6 shots on goals, compared to Goncales’ 3.1, while the Sporting Lisbon player also averages almost three times the amount of key passes per game.

Since he moved to Aston Villa since Bayer Leverkusen, one of Bailey’s major weaknesses has been his consistency over a large period of time. In one game, he can tear up a defence, but far too often, he goes missing on the right wing and struggles to feed Ollie Watkins with any service whatsoever.

According to the Opta-powered stats on Fbref, Bailey is in the 15th percentile of attackers for the number of assists created over the last year in the top five leagues in Europe, recording just 0.10 per 90 minutes.

The stark difference to Pote’s numbers is damning for Bailey. The winger – who has scored twice in the Champions League this season – is in the 94th percentile for assists over the last year, accumulating a staggering 0.37 assists every 90 minutes.

Over the course of a Premier League season, this would equate to just over 14 assists compared to Bailey’s 3.8.

The difference in quality between Bailey and Goncalves is clear in almost every statistical department, and Emery must do all he can to secure the 24-year-old’s services in the summer transfer window.

In other Aston Villa news, the future of this loanee hangs in the balance as contract talks await.