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Aston Villa could ditch Leon Bailey by signing Ismaila Sarr

The January transfer window is only a matter of weeks away from opening for business and Aston Villa may be one of the clubs in the market to strengthen their squad.

Unai Emery has arrived from Villarreal and next month will be his first opportunity to bring players through the door in order to stamp his own mark on the side.

This means that the Villans could be busy throughout the window in an attempt to give the Spaniard everything that he needs to enjoy a successful second half of the season, and beyond.

The arrival of new players could also mean that underperforming players lose their place in the squad and have to be moved on, or shifted into a reserve role.

One man who could be on the chopping block is Jamaica international Leon Bailey. The 25-year-old has struggled to produce in the final third since making the move from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer of 2021 and Emery could replace him by signing a new winger.

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Bailey has registered just four goals and provided only three assists in 32 Premier League outings for Villa since the start of the 2021/22 campaign.

He has averaged a Sofascore rating of 6.75 or lower in that time and Emery must now ditch the underperforming dud by swooping for Ismaila Sarr from Watford.

Villa agreed a £25m deal with the Championship side in the summer but were unable to finalise the move and the Spanish head coach must now pick up from where Steven Gerrard left off to revive the transfer in January.

Should Aston Villa sign Ismaila Sarr?

Yes

Yes

No

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Sarr’s form at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar suggests that he could be a terrific signing for the Villans and an upgrade on Bailey, as he caught the eye for Senegal during their run to the last 16.

His country were knocked out by England on Sunday night but the 24-year-old winger was superb across his four appearances in the competition.

As per Sofascore, he scored one goal, completed a whopping nine dribbles, and created six chances for his teammates, whilst winning 66% of his individual duels.

These statistics show that he was a wizard on the ball and held his own from a physical perspective, as he danced around opposition defenders and opened up space for his teammates to go along with his strong defensive work to help out his full-back.

Sarr, who scored five goals and created five ‘big chances’ in 21 Premier League starts last season, averaged a Sofascore rating of 7.10 at the World Cup and no Senegal player managed a higher rating, which indicates that he was the top performer for his country in Qatar.

Therefore, the Watford man – who has been dubbed an “unbelievable talent” by the Guardian’s Ed Aarons – could be an excellent signing for Villa as he is coming into January off the back of an impressive tournament and should be high on confidence after showing the world that he can compete at the top level.

Bringing him in would then allow Emery to ditch Bailey and unleash Sarr on the wing for the Villans in the second half of the campaign.