Author: Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rüdd

Bailey opts for Bayer Leverkusen over English big guns

Leon Bailey has moved from Gent in Belgium to neighbouring Germany after signing for leading club Bayer Leverkusen. 

The 19-year-old Kingston-born soccer ace, who was wanted by a string of English Premier League (EPL) sides including table-topping Chelsea, is after guaranteed first team appearances.

But many EPL ‎clubs have a reputation for taking the top young players then loaning them out rather than nurture them and give them experience. 

Despite having yet to win a full cap for Jamaica Bailey has represented the Under 21 side and the whizzy winger appears destined for the big time soon with his style of play likened to Portugal’s Cristiano Ronalado who plies his trade in Spain with Real Madrid.

Bailey’s father and manager, Craig Butler, recently claimed that it was time for his player “to move to the next level” by signing for a leading European club.

Bailey moved to Europe from Jamaica where he initially spent time with Genk before moving on to Slovakian club Trenčín in 2013.

He returned to Genk and signed pro terms in August 2015 upon turning 18 years of age. Less than two weeks later he made his senior debut and finished the season by winning the League’s Young Player of the Year award.

Because Bailey has played in the Europa League for Gent – four goals in six matches this campaign – then the next obvious step is the Champions’ League. Although Bayer Leverkusen are stuttering in the league and lie eighth at the halfway stage of the Bundeslga.

Roger Schmidt, the Bayer Leverkusen manager enthused: “He’s technically skilled and got a lot of pace.”

EPL stugglers Hull City were the latest club to try to tempt Bailey to ply his trade away in the UK, but the ‎talented teenager is keen on regularly chasing honours each season.

It was not just English clubs eyeing up Bailey, Italian and Spanish giants were also biting at the bit to land him before he opted for Germany.

Bailey, who scooped the prestigious Best Young Player award in Belgium last season, will be setting his next goal at helping his new side climb up the Bundesliga to secure a Champions League slot. Then next term he should get the opportunity to shine on Europe’s biggest stage.

Name: Leon Bailey
Club: Bayer Leverkusen
Debut: 21 August 2015 for Genk vs Sint-Truiden
Position: Attacking midfielder
Nationality: Jamaican
Born: 9 August 1997
Preferred foot: left
Height: 181cm

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Bailey opts for Bayer Leverkusen over English big gunsLeon Bailey has moved from Gent in Belgium to neighbouring Germany after signing for leading club Bayer Leverkusen. The 19-year-old Kingston-born soccer ace, who was wanted by a string of English Premier League (EPL) sides including table-topping Chelsea, is after guaranteed first...

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