Aston Villa team news: Dean Smith set for boost over £31.5m star who 'scares defenders'

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith

Leon Bailey will “scare defenders” when he makes his return to the Aston Villa squad, according to BirminghamLive journalist Ashley Preece.

Bailey is expected to be in contention for a place in Dean Smith’s line-up when Villa visit Arsenal on Friday, having narrowly missed out through injury last weekend.

What’s the latest news involving Bailey?

Bailey made the move to the Premier League after Villa parted with £25million to clinch the Bayer Leverkusen winger during the summer transfer window.

However, his progress was hampered after he suffered an injury while scoring his first goal for the club during a 3-0 victory over Everton last month.

It led to Smith confirming the thigh strain would keep Bailey out of action until after the recent international break.

However, Bailey was unavailable when domestic football returned last weekend, meaning he was unable to stop Villa throwing away a two-goal lead as they lost 3-2 to Midlands rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Bailey’s absence has led to former top flight striker Frank McAvennie claiming Smith’s outfit struggle without the winger.

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What has Ashley Preece said about Bailey?

Preece believes Bailey, who is valued at £31.5million by Transfermarkt, will prove to be a key player for Villa when he returns to the fray.

Injuries have restricted the 24-year-old to just 85 minutes of action since his move from the Bundesliga, with him yet to feature in a starting line-up for his new employers.

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But Preece has already seen enough to suggest he will excite supporters over the course of his career at Villa Park.

The journalist told GIVEMESPORT: “He burst into life against Everton and he’s got frightening pace. He’s got everything about him to play in the Premier League and scare defenders.

“We’ve only seen 85 minutes of him so far and he’s already ahead of some players in terms of assist and goal numbers.”

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Why did Villa sign Bailey?

Bailey’s arrival came just 24 hours before talisman Jack Grealish sealed his departure from Villa by completing a British record transfer, worth £100million, to Manchester City.

His acquisition played a major role in Villa being the Premier League’s fifth biggest spenders during the summer transfer window, having forked out £93million in a bid to bolster Smith’s options.

The Jamaica international, who has amassed 10 caps, showed he has a cutting edge in the final third during his time at Bayer Leverkusen as he tallied 39 goals and 26 assists in 156 appearances for the German side.

He has grabbed a goal and an assist during his brief stint with Villa so far.

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