Graham Potter turns to Villa to solve Raheem Sterling problem but Chelsea decision over troubled star pivotal to move

Leon Bailey Emi Martinez Danny Ings Aston Villa 2022 TEAMtalk1

Chelsea are reportedly considering a swoop for Aston Villa winger Leon Bailey with rumours Christian Pulisic could be seeking a way out of Stamford Bridge.

The Blues spent big over the summer with a number of big-money signings arriving. The likes of Wesley Fofana, Marc Cucurella, Kalidou Koulibaly and Raheem Sterling were recruited. But, after a stuttering start, Thomas Tuchel was sacked with Graham Potter replacing him in the dugout.

After the traditional new manager ‘bounce’, the west Londoners have reverted to type. They were winless in five Premier League outings prior to the World Cup break.

And with three straight losses, Potter now has time to ponder winter signings in order to strengthen his flagging squad.

They have been linked with many players. But The Mail now add Villa forward Bailey to the list.

The 25-year-old is in his second season at Villa Park after moving from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer of 2021.

His maiden campaign in claret and blue was hampered by a series of niggling injuries. Thigh and ankle problems limited his participation to seven starts among 18 top-flight outings.

Things have picked up in 2022-2023, however, with the Jamaica international enjoying 11 starts and 14 league outings.

He has scored three goals during Villa’s early struggles which saw Steven Gerrard removed as manager.

Unai Emery’s arrival has heralded victories over Manchester United and Brighton. But the Spanish tactician may struggle to hold on to Bailey if reports are to be believed.

Pulisic key to Chelsea pursuit of Bailey

Pulisic has been with Chelsea since the summer of 2019. Arriving to much fanfare, he has never really commanded a regular starting berth.

The USA international has scored 26 goals from 133 appearances in all competitions. But he remains a peripheral figure, with just three league starts this term and a solitary goal.

Rumours persist that the 24-year-old wants a new challenge. And Chelsea seem prepared to listen to offers for the former Borussia Dortmund man.

Should they manage to offload the Pennsylvanian, then a move for Bailey might materialise.

Sterling friendship a plus for Bailey capture

Sterling arrived at the Bridge during last summer following seven seasons with Manchester City.

He notched 131 goals for the Citizens but has struggled to make much of an impact in the capital.

The England forward has scored five goals from 19 outings in all competitions. But he has failed to hit the heights of his prime years under Pep Guardiola.

The ex-Liverpool ace turns 28 next month and there is still plenty of time for him to rediscover his best form.

He is good friends with Bailey and all at the Chelsea will hope he can have a positive influence on Sterling if he arrives at the club.

A deal for Bailey is clearly not straight forward, however, with Villa unlikely to want to sell the former Genk star.

Pulisic’s future also comes into the equation and the upcoming World Cup will give the American some much-needed exposure.

A decent showing in Qatar could see clubs come in for him during the winter window. Then there is just the small matter or persuading Emery that he does not need Bailey in his ranks.

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