Aston Villa boss Dean Smith could sign his club’s new Tony Daley in Bayer Leverkusen flier Leon Bailey.
Reports in recent days have suggested that the Jamaica international is now very much a target for the Midlands club as they look to strengthen their attacking options ahead of the new Premier League season.
The Birmingham Mail’s Ashley Preece claimed that with Villa having moved on from their pursuit of Arsenal’s Emile Smith Rowe, Bailey is firmly on the club’s radar now.
The Jamaican winger enjoyed a superb campaign in the Bundesliga last season – he scored 15 times and provided another 11 assists, which when compared to Villa’s current squad favours very well (only Ollie Watkins scored more with 16, and only Jack Grealish set up more with 12).
The £43m-rated Bailey can play on either flank, and what really makes him a true successor to Daley is his speed and incredible dribbling.
Ajax’s former youth coach, Ronald de Boer, once said of Bailey: “He’s so fast it’s not normal. His speed, combined with his technique, is very rare. Exceptional. He has no weak points.”
And, after helping to bring him to the club, Leverkusen’s sporting director, Rudi Voller, added: “He’s got extraordinary pace, he’s very skilful with the ball, and he will give further impetus to our attacking department.”
That pace and trickery is what made Daley an absolute nightmare for opposition defences back in the mid 80s and 90s for Villa.
A profile done by The Birmingham Mail on some of the most exciting wingers in Villa’s history, said of him: “It was not just the tarantula-esque haircuts that frightened defenders. The eight legs of many a back four struggled to contend with Tony Daley.
“Injuries and inconsistency probably prevented the softly-spoken Brummie from becoming a true turbo-boosted claret and blue legend. But the wing wonder certainly provided entertainment for the Villa Park faithful, down both flanks, between his debut in 1985 and his departure in 1994.
“The pick of Daley’s 38 goals in 298 appearances for his boyhood club was arguably his scorching solo effort in a 2-0 home win over Luton in March 1990, when he span sharply near the half-way line and darted past the Hatters defence, before scoring from an impossible angle.”
That “turbo-boost” and ability to beat players for fun and then deliver a vicious strike at goal is everything that Bailey brings to the table, and exactly why Smith could deliver a throwback to Villa’s past by landing the Jamaican this summer.