Transfer

Fabrizio Romano drops big contract news on “scintillating” Aston Villa star

Unai Emery and Aston Villa have managed their squad well – no player is into the final six months of their contract as we approach the off-season, and that means that the club don’t need to worry about losing any of their assets on free transfers.

The only deals ‘expiring’ are loans, with Nicolo Zaniolo’s future contingent on whether Villa have met the obligatory purchase conditions in their agreement with Galatasaray. If they have, then they will pay a guaranteed £19m plus a potential £13m in add-ons to make the signing permanent.

In the case of Clement Lenglet, meanwhile, Villa don’t possess either an option or obligation to buy, meaning that the centre-back will be heading back to Barcelona unless they make a separate offer to keep him in the Midlands.

There are, however, a few players whose futures need addressing ahead of 2025. One of them is Calum Chambers, who rejected moves to three different Championship clubs on the final day of the transfer window. Chambers has already been told he isn’t part of Emery’s plans and he could join a Turkish club before their window closes on Friday, so we can safely assume there won’t be a renewal.



Likewise, Kortney Hause seems destined to leave the club given that he hasn’t played any senior football at all this season as he recovers from an injury. It was reported in November that he hadn’t so much as spoken to Emery about his situation.

By contrast, Leon Bailey has been a key player for the Villans this season, appearing in 21 of their 23 Premier League games and starting ten. Fortunately, it seems the club are already set to tie him down.

Villa shake hands on new Bailey deal

According to Fabrizio Romano, Villa have now reached an agreement with Bailey over a new contract. All that remains is to sign the paperwork after the two parties shook hands on the terms of the deal.

Bailey, who’s “happy” at Villa Park, will be rewarded with a pay rise and a “longer contract”, though the exact duration isn’t specified. We can expect an official announcement to follow in due course.

Bailey, dubbed “scintillating” by football presenter Dan Bardell and “top, top quality” by Sky Sports pundit Don Goodman, is enjoying an outstanding season at Villa. Only Ollie Watkins has scored more goals (16 vs 10) and provided more assists (10 vs eight) in all competitions.

Most impressively, Bailey has been directly involved in 13 Premier League goals despite only playing 1,013 minutes in the competition, which gives him the best non-penalty-goal-contributions-per-90 record of any player in the division (1.15).

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With more than three and a half months of the season to go, Bailey has already scored more goals than he managed in his first two Villa seasons combined (six), and notched more assists too (six). His improvement has been enormous, and it’s finally justifying Villa’s £25m outlay in 2020. All of a sudden, his £100k-per-week wages are in need of an upgrade, when previously they’d looked excessive.

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