Aston Villa

Aston Villa: Gregg Evans outlines why Leon Bailey was signed

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correspondent Gregg Evans has offered up a specific reason to explain why the went out and purchased Leon Bailey this summer. 

Earlier on in the transfer market, Villa signed Bailey from German Bayer Leverkusen for a reported fee of £25m.

Of course, the inevitable sale of Jack Grealish paved the way for this transfer, but Evans has outlined why exactly the went after the Jamaican winger.

Speaking on The Athletic’s 1874 podcast, Evans said that Bailey’s specific skillset was identified by manager Dean Smith as a way to improve the club’s attacking play.

Evans explained, saying: “The one thing that Dean Smith highlighted at the back-end of last season was that Villa tended to give the ball away a little bit too often in the attacking areas when Jack Grealish wasn’t on the pitch. 

“That’s part of the reason why they signed Leon Bailey, his ball retention levels are pretty amazing. So he will help Villa keep possession for longer in the attacking third.”

TIF Thoughts on Leon Bailey and Aston Villa…

Evans’ point about Bailey keeping the ball well is backed up statistically. In an article from The Athletic, their data module showed his ball-retention ability is ranked an impressive 74 out of 99.

Bailey also made a good impact on his Villa debut last weekend, coming off the bench to provide an assist for John McGinn’s goal. However, he couldn’t help the avoid a 3-2 loss away at Watford. 

After the game, Bailey promised his new supporters there was ‘much more to come’ via his Twitter account. Perhaps he will prove that this weekend as the Villans host Newcastle in their first home Premier League game of the season.

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