Aston Villa must give Leon Bailey a new contract as stats show he's getting better
Everyone at Aston Villa is excited about the new season to come after the wonders that Unai Emery has done in such a short amount of time this season.
Emery took over from Steven Gerrard in November and has taken the team from battling relegation to seriously challenging for a place in Europe next season.
Key players have signed or agreed new contracts, while it seems as though the manager has also made up his mind on the future of several players deemed dead wood too.
But one player who finds himself in an interesting position is Leon Bailey, who will enter the final two years of his contract this summer with his place in the side the only one not locked in among others in the same scenario.
Ashley Young is out of contract this summer, while Bertrand Traore’s deal expires in 2024. But aside from those two, there are no first-teamers out of contract until 2025, when Bailey, John McGinn, Ollie Watkins and Calum Chambers will be free to leave as it stands.
Chambers’ future seems all but sealed after minimal game time under Emery, while McGinn and Watkins are key men. Bailey is somewhere in the middle. So a decision must be made. Do Aston Villa cash in, or start talking about new terms before it’s too late.
The stats suggest the correct answer is the latter, because the Jamaica international has improved on almost every important stat during his time under the Spanish coach according to WhoScored.
During his debut campaign in the Premier League he managed just 18 appearances, but this season he has made 29 already to prove his fitness issues are behind him.
He’s scored four goals this season compared to just the one he scored in 21/22, while he’s also managed three assists compared to two the year before.
He’s also averaging more shots per game (1.6 to 1.2), is winning more aerial duels (0.8 to 0.6) and has been named man of the match twice compared to zero occasions.
To add to that Bailey has also doubled the amount of key passes he makes per game (0.8 to 0.4), has almost doubled the amount of successful dribbles per game (1.2 to 0.7) and has lost possession less often due to bad control.
There is still some way to go for him to get to the level that convinced Villa to splash the cash on him during his final season at Leverkusen, but the trends are in the right direction under the manager.
Bailey is just 25-years-old and with a system that suits him and a manager that believes in him, the sky is the limit.
Aston Villa should reward his improvements and believe in their investment by handing a new contract and tying him down to Villa Park for the prime years of his career.
It could end up being their best signing of the summer.
In other Aston Villa news, Emery wants to reunite with this PL star to solve Villa’s creativity issues.