Aston Villa look set to continue their big summer spending with a move for Bayer Leverkusen’s Leon Bailey, talkSPORT understands.
The Jamaican, 23, bagged 15 goals and eight assists for the German side last season, further establishing himself as one of the Bundesliga’s brightest forwards.
After the arrival of winger Emi Buendia from Norwich in a deal which could reach £40million, Bailey is likely to cost between £25m and £30m.
Bailey predominantly features on the right, but is capable across every position in a front three.
The interest comes after Villa made two unsuccessful bids for Arsenal star Emile Smith Rowe – and the Villains are clearly keen to spend big up top this summer.
That could be due to the uncertainty surrounding star player Jack Grealish.
Premier League champions Manchester City are desperate to sign the 25-year-old England star, who was one of the Premier League’s standout performers last season.
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While Grealish recently signed a new long-term contract, Villa may struggle to keep him if City cough up the £100m asking price.
And with £70m already budgeted on new forwards, there is a chance Villa are preparing for life after Grealish.
However, the club’s owners – Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens – are among the richest in the top-flight – and it is also possible they are investing into a future with Grealish at the heart of it.
talkSPORT’s European football expert Kevin Hatchard has confirmed Aston Villa’s interest, while admitting Bailey’s form has been inconsistent.
He told Hawksbee and Jacobs: “It looks like this is a goer. He’s exciting, there is no doubt about that.
“He’s somebody who’s direct, he likes to run at people, he’s very, very quick. When he’s playing well, he’s very, very difficult to control and very, very difficult for defenders to stop.
“The problem he’s had is that he hasn’t found that consistency. So he’s had spells where he’s been brilliant and spells where he hasn’t been very good at all. He’s had a couple of notable red cards in derby games.
“He’s admitted himself that he perhaps needs to be a little bit more focused on and off the field.
“He’s become a father, that seems to have helped with the stuff off the field. He seems to be a bit more mature now.
“He’s still got a huge amount of potential. Villa do seem to be looking for players who have that pace, they like players who commit defenders.
“It would be a good fit for their style. It looks like Leverkusen are prepared to do a deal if it’s at the right price.”