Leon Bailey could now be set for Aston Villa revival after Thursday Moussa Diaby development
Bayer Leverkusen forward Moussa Diaby looks set to finalise his transfer to Aston Villa within the next 48 hours, and the Frenchman’s arrival could inadvertently spring Leon Bailey back to life at Villa Park.
According to RMC Sport (20 July), Diaby should undergo his medical tests in the UK and sign his new contract by the weekend in order to complete the deal worth around €40m (£34.6m) plus add-ons.
The Athletic reported on Thursday 20 July that the Villans had agreed a deal with the German club to complete their third signing of the summer after the Frenchman rejected a big-money approach from Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr [Fabrizio Romano, 20 July], and Diaby is now expected to complete the formalities of his move over the weekend.
The Frenchman immediately comes into improve Aston Villa’s attacking weaponry, especially in the wide areas after the likes of Bailey and Bertrand Traore were the only two out-and-out wingers that manager Unai Emery could call upon throughout the back end of last season.
While Diaby’s arrival may have a profound effect on his former Leverkusen teammate, Bailey should see the potential transfer as a chance to spring his Villa Park career back into life.
The former Bayer Leverkusen man has been guilty of some dour and laboured showings throughout his Villa Park career, probably as a result of much of Aston Villa’s cutting-edge attacking play resting on his shoulders, and it can certainly be argued that the Jamaica international needs players of a similar profile alongside him in order to thrive.
The 27-year-old delivered a standout performance for Jamaica against Trinidad and Tobago recently in a tremendous 4-1 CONCACAF Gold Cup win with a team comprising of the likes of Premier League trio Michail Antonio, Demarai Gray and Bobby Decordova-Reid.
Bailey, who was given an 82-minute outing, was extremely impressive for his nation, picking up a goal and an assist in the victory and showcasing why the 23/24 campaign at Aston Villa could be a hugely important one for him, especially with the arrival of Diaby.
Against Trinidad, starting in a front two with Antonio, Bailey registered one shot on target, three off target and also managed to spurn two big chances – which will come as a frustration given his struggles in recent months. [SofaScore]
The former Bayer Leverkusen winger also managed 39 touches of the ball and completed 21 of his 24 passes at an 84% accuracy, which is a considerable upgrade on his average of 61.6% over the last year.
This strong showing, which also included a 100% success rate on long balls played and two key passes in the final third, was his second impressive outing in less than a week following the score draw against the USA a few days earlier, but Bailey’s performance was down to him performing alongside the likes of West Ham’s Antonio and Everton’s Gray, imagine what he could do with his former teammate Diaby who has is well-known across Europe to be one one of the most decisive and productive attacking talents on the continent.
Indeed, last term, the 24-year-old was in inspired form for Bayer Leverkusen, registering 14 goals and 11 assists from 48 appearances across all competitions, and Diaby is also a master of putting opportunities on a plate for his team-mates and successfully performed 143 shot-creating actions in 2022/23, as per FBRef.
In Bailey’s last campaign at Leverkusen before his move to Villa Park in 2021, the Jamaican wizard performed arguably his best individual season to date in the 2020/21 season as he bagged 15 goals and eight assists playing alongside the likes of Kai Havertz, Diaby and Karim Bellarabi.
The 25-year-old has shown he can perform consistently and up to his usual thrilling standards playing alongside quality players and with the former Leverkusen man set to line up alongside his former teammate in Diaby, Bailey could not only enjoy a renaissance at Aston Villa but both players could prove the difference makers as the West Midlands undergo a whole new territory during the 2023/24 campaign.
In other Aston Villa news, the club’s received a kick in the teeth over this £8.5million transfer reveal.