Aston Villa could have signed £39m-rated Bailey upgrade this summer

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Aston Villa had a sensational summer of business in the transfer window, bringing in five new faces to bolster Unai Emery’s high-flying squad.

Not many could have anticipated the positive effect that the Spaniard has installed at the club, taking the relegation form side of Steven Gerrard and turning them into a team finishing with a European spot.

The former Arsenal manager has excelled so far on the field, with his success translated into the market as he and Monchi teamed up to deliver some valuable new additions to the ranks at Villa Park.

The club record-breaking deal for Moussa Diaby saw the Villans spend £51.9m on the winger, with the move later proving to be highly beneficial as the Frenchman has already netted two goals in the opening four matches of the Premier League season.

Villa’s progression and rise in ambition on the pitch seemed to be reflected in the window, as big names were not only recruited but eyed by the club in what was a statement of intent for Emery’s first full term in charge.


While high-profile names walked through the doors of Villa Park, other rumoured targets weren’t delivered, with some names having the potential to be marquee deals in the club’s market history.

Who were Aston Villa linked to over the summer?

After dipping into the La Liga pool to obtain Pau Torres, it seemed for a moment that Emery would once again buy from his homeland, with two Barcelona talents linked with moves to the Midlands throughout the course of the window.

Ferran Torres was mentioned as a target for the Villans, with news in Spain suggesting that the Spaniard could make a sensational return to the Premier League as part of a loan deal to Villa Park.

The former Manchester City forward found his form in pre-season, making a move relatively impossible as the Catalan giants saw his true worth.

Another Barcelona star that could have made his way to Birmingham was Ansu Fati, who was linked to the club before making the move to Brighton on loan.


Having seen the Seagulls pull off a coup as audacious and impressive as Fati, it will have been a disappointment for Emery to have not sealed a deal for the 20-year-old, who was hunting for game time away from his boyhood club.

Within the Premier League, Jadon Sancho was another figure that was suspected to be wanted by the Midlands side.

In hindsight, the move would have been beneficial for the player as he continues to duel with Erik ten Hag at Manchester United.

A report from Football Transfers suggested that the Red Devils were open to selling the Englishman earlier in the summer, with Villa named as a club interested in the 23-year-old, who was said to be valued in the region of £60m.

The one that truly got away from the hopeful grasp of Emery was Joao Felix, who was reported to be “on their radar” by journalist Rudy Galetti via GIVEMESPORT.

Did Aston Villa nearly sign Joao Felix?

After leaving his loan spell at Chelsea, Felix was left with the keys to discover his next club, with his future at Atletico Madrid unimaginable after a falling out with Diego Simeone.

The forward was linked with a host of clubs who would have benefitted from his signature, with interest from the Premier League and Saudi Arabia noted.


A recent report from Spain, relayed by GOAL, revealed that the Portuguese turned down a potential move to Aston Villa, Manchester United and Liverpool in the bid to join Barcelona, his dream destination.

For most, dreams are an escape from reality, however, the 23-year-old made his dream a reality as he penned a loan deal with La Blaugrana, marking his return to La Liga away from the hostility at Madrid.

Signing the former Benfica starlet would have arguably been the Midlands’ biggest-ever capture, however, it wasn’t meant to be as the former Chelsea man yearned for the Spanish champions.

How much could Joao Felix have cost?

While it was a dream to have even eyed Felix, there were huge questions over his cost, with the 23-year-old on both a huge salary and with a monumental price tag.

Signed by Atleti for a staggering £113m at the age of 19, it was expected that Simeone’s side would expect a fee of a similar amount to sanction his departure.


It was reported that the Spaniards were firm on their valuation of €100m (£86m) for the versatile forward, with the magnitude of his wage being another vast obstacle that Villa would have had to consider.

From earning £3,900-per-week to making £238k-per-week at Atletico, Felix would have walked into the side at Villa Park as the club’s highest earner with ease. That said, Football Transfers placed a much more realistic expected transfer value on the play of £39m.

In football nowadays, it’s somewhat arguable that you get what you pay for, however, in the instance of a talent hailed as “generational” by development coach Aldo Sainati, the price is surely worth paying.

What could Joao Felix have offered to Aston Villa?

Deployable all over the front line, the 23-year-old is truly a master at playing the false nine role, with strengths in finishing, playmaking and the gift of innate flair.

Before the opening of the summer window, Emery identified a partner for Ollie Watkins as a target for the market when speaking to The Athletic, with Felix fitting the description perfectly.

Tipped by Cristiano Ronaldo to repeat his success in La Liga, it’s easy to forget just how early the Portuguese gem is into his career path, due to his formidable records in both Spain and Portugal.

With Premier League experience now under his belt too, the forward has become a decimal more employable by admirers in England, able to display his ability in one of the world’s best leagues.

Joao Felix Domestic League Record











Atletico Madrid





Atletico Madrid





Atletico Madrid





Atletico Madrid










All figures via Transfermarkt.

For Villa, Felix would’ve undoubtedly been the main man, and a figure adored in the Midlands which given the status of his career in Atletico could have almost certainly boosted his performance and confidence.

As for his potential role in the squad, the free-roaming forward could have added a significant amount of quality to the front line, with a spearhead of Watkins, Diaby and Felix one of monstrous capability under Emery.

Leon Bailey would be the man to make way for the Portuguese talent should he have arrived in the Midlands, a player who has failed to hit true form since arriving at Villa Park from Bayer Leverkusen.

While the Jamaican has shown glimpses of his ability in the wide areas of attack, the 26-year-old has netted only six goals in 54 Premier League appearances so far in claret and blue, suggesting that the end product is missing.

Representing Genk, Leverkusen and Villa in his domestic career, the winger has never hit ten goals in a league campaign, with his highest tally being the nine Bundesliga goals he recorded on two occasions.


For Felix, his numbers in the final third are more than assured despite being three years younger than the Villa man, with his best scoring season recording 15 Liga Portugal goals for Benfica as a teen.

To communicate the calibre between the two forwards, Felix equalled Bailey’s highest-scoring Premier League tally in his debut 16 appearances in the league, scoring four last term to match the four scored by the Jamaican in 33 appearances.

Villa could’ve quickly forgotten about their winger by signing Felix, who could have epitomised the change in direction since Emery’s arrival.

Ultimately, no club would have sufficed for the 23-year-old, who simply wanted Barcelona to be the next destination to rediscover his form.

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