Aston Villa winger Leon Bailey could be considering his future at the club due to Steven Gerrard’s recent decision to alter his formation, according to transfer insider Dean Jones.
The 24-year-old has endured a frustrating debut campaign in England, and his hopes of getting more minutes on the pitch appear to have been dented by Gerrard’s tactical tinkering.
What’s happened to Bailey this season?
The Jamaican international’s season has not gone according to plan as he has been hit by a series of injuries.
Indeed, he missed nine consecutive top-flight matches between December and February due to a thigh problem.
He has been available for Villa’s last five matches, though, and may have been optimistic about starting some of those games after easing his way back following his fitness issues.
Unfortunately for Bailey, Gerrard has switched to a narrow 4-4-2 system for Villa’s last three fixtures, with Philippe Coutinho playing in the No. 10 position behind Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings.
As no wingers are needed in this formation, Bailey has had to settle for cameo appearances off the bench, or no game time whatsoever.
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What has Jones said about Bailey?
Bailey has only been at Villa for seven months, but Jones believes he may already be thinking about leaving the club in order to play regular first-team football elsewhere.
When asked about how the £28.8m-rated wide man would be feeling about Gerrard not starting with wingers in recent matches, Jones told GIVEMESPORT: “I think it leaves Leon Bailey looking for a transfer, to be honest.”
Should Bailey be looking at potentially leaving Villa already?
When he joined Villa from Bayer Leverkusen last summer, becoming the club’s third-most expensive player ever in the process, Bailey would have hoped to make an instant impact.
Instead, he has had to watch large portions of the season from the sidelines, having only made four league starts in 2021/22.
It would be understandable if he is unhappy with his lack of minutes on the pitch to date.
Then again, he has rarely been fully fit this term, so that should be his main focus for now; ensuring that he is ready to shine when he does get his next opportunity.
If he hardly plays between now and the end of the season, it may be time for him to consider his options.
Gerrard has shown that he is willing to be flexible with his tactics, though, and Bailey could force his way into the team before too long to prove that he does have a future at Villa.