Southampton have missed out on another of their reported transfer targets for the summer, with Leon Bailey set to join Aston Villa in the coming days.
According to 90min, Southampton were one of several Premier League sides keen on signing the £31.5m-rated winger from Bayer Leverkusen this summer but it appears as if Aston Villa have won the race to sign the 23-year-old after it was confirmed that they had reached an agreement with the Bundesliga side to sign him in a deal reportedly worth £30m.
Considering Southampton’s budget for new players this summer was always going to be less than Villa’s, even before the rumours of Jack Grealish’s £100m move to Manchester City began, it was perhaps never really on the cards for Southampton to sign Bailey this summer.
Ralph Hasenhuttl suggested before the window that the Saints would target players for £10m or less, so it would have been remarkable to see them bid three times that amount on one player, however, Bailey’s obvious ability and potential suggests that he could prove to be a superb addition to Villa’s squad this summer.
Whilst Southampton fans will appreciate that he was slightly out of their price range, they will no doubt be disappointed to see a fellow top-flight club, who were on the brink of relegation in 2020, spending so heavily this summer as they look to move up the Premier League table.
Although Southampton have been able to bring in Dynel Simeu and Theo Walcott on free transfers, with Romain Perraud confirmed and Tino Livramento likely to be announced in the coming days, you could argue that they are missing a marquee signing to take their squad to the next level.
Hasenhuttl does have a number of options to him on the wing including Nathan Redmond, Moussa Djenepo, Theo Walcott, Stuart Armstrong, Nathan Tella and recent returnee Mohammed Elyounoussi, but those players managex just 11 Premier League goals between them last season, whereas Bailey managed nine goals and eight assists in just 30 Bundesliga appearances by himself.
Therefore, whilst Bailey always looked like a slightly unrealistic option for Southampton, Saints fans will be disappointed to see him join Aston Villa instead of moving to St Mary’s this summer.
And, in other news… Athletic report drops exciting Southampton transfer news on “huge talent”