Leon Bailey is set to sign a new contract with Aston Villa after emerging as one of Unai Emery’s key players this season.
Bailey has verbally agreed terms on a long-term deal and is committing his future to the Champions League chasers.
Signed from Bayer Leverkusen for £25 million in August 2021, the Jamaica international has produced seven goals and six assists this season, which are comfortably his best statistics since joining the club.
Bailey’s latest goal came in the 5-0 thrashing of Sheffield United on Saturday, which maintained Villa’s push for the top four.
Villa had instigated talks with Bailey’s representative, his father Craig Butler, towards the end of last year and are now putting the finishing touches to the contract now that the transfer window has closed.
Analysis: Unpredictable Bailey inspired by competition for Villa place
Bailey arrived at Villa Park from the Bundesliga with a glowing reputation but injuries and a lack of consistency have unquestionably held him back.
Even last month, after the home defeat by Newcastle, Villa coach Emery admitted that Bailey can be “sometimes successful, sometimes less” when named in the starting XI.
The signing of Moussa Diaby in the summer could have placed uncertainty over Bailey’s future, but he has stepped up this season to prove himself indispensable.
He can be unpredictable, but his speed and direct running makes him a nightmare to defend against. Bailey is also two-footed, which appeals to Emery as he can play in a number of positions across the front three.
Emery still believes there is still more to come from the 26-year-old, with Villa hunting down a place in next season’s Champions League.
If Bailey can continue to produce his numbers, and steer clear of those frustrating injuries, he can take his game up another level.