Ty Bracey: Leon Bailey playing for his future at Aston Villa with raft of summer changes possible
Plenty of criticism has been directed at the mercurial Leon Bailey so far this season, and the winger could be playing for his Aston Villa future after a drop-off in performances in recent weeks.
The Jamaican attacker has shown glimpses of his undoubted match-winning ability since moving from Bayer Leverkusen in 2021, but they have come few and far between for the club’s liking.
So far this campaign, the 25-year-old has registered four goals and three assists in 26 Premier League outings, including a well-produced assist in the 3-0 win against Bournemouth last Saturday (18 March).
However, Unai Emery has often sided with Emi Buendia as an alternative to the attacker alongside Ollie Watkins – a move that suggests he may not fully trust Bailey to perform up to his exacting standards on a weekly basis.
When asked by Villa News whether Bailey was playing for his future at the club, Aston Villa podcaster Ty Bracey admitted that the 18-capped international might be one of many players who Emery could part company with this summer.
He said: “Absolutely [he is playing for his future], if you’re going to shine at Villa, now is the time, and Bailey needs to start getting more goals and assists if he wants to be a part of Emery’s long-term plans.
“The January window was quite quiet, we did little bits of business, but it was always going to be full steam ahead this summer and I think the same applies to everybody, not just Bailey.
“If people aren’t pulling their weight, they will be replaced. It’s as simple as that.
“The manager demands a certain level from his team, and if they’re not going to give it, he will look elsewhere.”
The frustration for many Villa supporters is the sky-high ceiling that Bailey possesses.
When at his free-flowing best, there are few attackers who can strike fear into defenders like the ex-Bayer Leverkusen player can.
The combination of pace and power that Bailey holds is extremely rare across Europe, and performances such as the 4-0 victory over Brentford and the 2-1 win over Leeds this season have proved that the winger can be a game-changer on his day.
Despite all of this, the jury is still out on Bailey, and he has 11 games to prove to Emery that he deserves a future at Aston Villa beyond this season.
In other Aston Villa news, players could now be fighting for their futures at Villa Park with a mid-table finish all but secured.