It ‘will be up to’ Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard to decide whether to persevere with forward Leon Bailey or cut his losses, according to journalist Dean Jones.
The Jamaica international only arrived at Villa Park last summer via a £25 million move from Bayer Leverkusen but has fallen down the pecking order in recent weeks.
What is the latest news involving Bailey?
Bailey’s arrival was warmly welcomed by the Midlands outfit’s fanbase after he registered 39 goals and 26 assists in 156 appearances for Leverkusen, cultivating an enviable reputation in the process.
However, a succession of minor injuries prevented the skilful forward from making his first start for Villa until 31 October, and former manager Dean Smith was relieved of his duties following the subsequent Premier League fixture.
Gerrard was announced as Smith’s successor during the November international break, yet his arrival has failed to spark a turnaround in fortunes for Bailey.
Despite appearing in Gerrard’s opening three games at the helm, the 24-year-old has failed to feature from the off since 27 November, and a recent change in formation has brought his long-term future into question.
Villa’s English tactician has changed from a 4-3-3 formation to a 4-3-1-2 in recent weeks, securing memorable victories over Southampton, Brighton and Leeds United.
But the setup doesn’t include any natural wingers, and given Bailey has only played through the middle on nine occasions throughout his entire career, it remains to be seen if Gerrard can find room for him in his long-term plans.
What has Jones said about Bailey?
Jones believes that Gerrard will have to decide whether to try and find ‘a role with the setup he’s got’ for Bailey or move him on when the market reopens.
He told GiveMeSport: “It will be up to Steven Gerrard to contemplate whether to work hard enough on him to find a role within the setup he’s got or is it just worth selling him and finding somebody he’s going to get a quicker turnaround from.”
What should Villa do with Bailey?
Bailey undoubtedly has the potential to become a top-class player, and his exploits in the Bundesliga showcased his ability to pose a threat to any defence on his day.
But if Gerrard decides to persist with his current tactical system, then it’s hard to envisage where the diminutive star will fit in.
If that is the case, then Villa may be better off moving Bailey on in the summer, allowing them to recoup a sizeable amount of the fee they splashed out on him less than 12 months ago.