Bailey completes Villa move amid continued Grealish speculation

By Sports Desk August 04, 2021

Aston Villa have confirmed the signing of Leon Bailey from Bayer Leverkusen for a reported £30million fee.

The Premier League club announced at the end of July that an agreement was in place with Leverkusen, with the player now completing his medical and agreeing personal terms on a contract that runs through to 2025.

A Jamaica international, Bailey scored 15 goals and provided 10 assists for the Bundesliga side across 40 appearances in all competitions last term.

The 23-year-old becomes the second big-money signing for Villa ahead of the 2021-22 season, following on from the arrival of Emiliano Buendia from Norwich City. Ashley Young has also re-joined the club on a free transfer.

"Leon is a hugely exciting young striker with great pace and creativity," Villa boss Dean Smith said of Bailey, who scored 39 goals for Leverkusen after joining from Genk in January 2017.   

"He has enjoyed a successful career at Leverkusen and we are now looking forward to watching him show his skills and talents for Aston Villa in the Premier League."

It remains to be seen if Smith will have Jack Grealish as part of his first-team squad once the transfer window closes, however, as Villa’s captain has been heavily linked with a move to champions Manchester City.

Villa have a pre-season friendly against Sevilla on Saturday before opening the new season with a trip to promoted Watford on August 14.

 

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    Southampton have signed former Manchester City and Chelsea goalkeeper Willy Caballero on a short-term contract.

    The 40-year-old, who has been a free agent since leaving Stamford Bridge at the end of last season, will join the south-coast club until January 5.

    Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl is currently without both Alex McCarthy and Fraser Forster due to injury and criticised the former on Saturday after he failed to reveal the extent of his hamstring issue during the 1-1 Premier League draw against Brighton and Hove Albion, in which McCarthy conceded an equaliser deep into stoppage time.

    "This is something we cannot accept," Hasenhuttl said after the game. "There must be a message: 'I cannot jump,' and then we can make a change.

    "We still had one change [available] at the end, and I could have changed the goalkeeper if necessary in this moment.

    "But Alex must be definitely more professional than that. This is what I missed from him today in such a game."

    Caballero is set to be part of the squad for Southampton's trip to Arsenal on Saturday.

    The Argentine, who won five caps for his country, made 48 appearances for City, where he won the EFL Cup. He then went on to play 38 times for Chelsea, winning the FA Cup, Europa League and Champions League.

    He previously played for Elche and Malaga in Spain, and Boca Juniors and Arsenal de Sarandi in his homeland, winning the 2003 Copa Libertadores with Boca.

  • Guardiola hails 'fantastic' Olmo while discussing RB Leipzig philosophy Guardiola hails 'fantastic' Olmo while discussing RB Leipzig philosophy

    Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola labelled Dani Olmo a "fantastic player" ahead of Tuesday's Champions League meeting with RB Leipzig.

    City have breezed through Group A as they prepare to head to Leipzig, having previously gone 14 games unbeaten against German opposition in the competition.

    The Bundesliga outfit can only make the Europa League after a disappointing group-stage showing, are still without a home win in Europe this term and parted ways with head coach Jesse Marsch on Sunday amid a poor run of form.

    Guardiola, though, heaped praise on Leipzig as he hailed Olmo as a standout star, although he dismissed any speculation of a reported move for the Spain international.

    Asked about a potential transfer for forward Olmo, Guardiola responded: "[The] answer is no. He is a Leipzig player.

    "If we are interested, I'm sure City will contact Leipzig. Saying that, he is a fantastic, fantastic player.

    "I'm happy he had the courage to leave Barcelona to develop his skills and then arrive at Leipzig."

     

    Olmo caught the headlines at Euro 2020 as he became just the third player – after Cesc Fabregas (2008) and Dejan Kulusevski (2021) – to assist two goals after being substituted on at the European Championship.

    But the former Barcelona man has made only three starts this season across all competitions, assisting just one goal, and he is yet to find the net after struggling with a muscle injury.

    Leipzig have felt the absence of one of their key players and are down in 11th in the Bundesliga, 16 points behind reigning champions Bayern Munich at the top.

    While speculation persists over who will succeed Marsch, Guardiola took the opportunity to praise the environment that has been developed at Leipzig.

    "Leipzig has a culture, they won't sign a manager who doesn't want to play their way," he added. "They want to play a specific way, pressing, gegenpressing, attacking, live, sleep, eat. 

    "This is the culture, and the new manager will be similar like that. The impact of a new manager is clear, players open their eyes and play for the Europa League, an incredible competition, the money from UEFA. 

    "We won at home, it was difficult, what they did in Bruges [a 5-0 win over Club Brugge]. There are highs and lows this season but the philosophy, the way they play versus Paris Saint-Germain, they should win 2-0,3-0. 

    "They play their style. We have to be careful, impose our game. Play to improve. We don't play for the points, we play to improve. It's a perfect training game for us. We go to Leipzig [and then] do a good dinner tonight to celebrate our qualification."

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