Jamaican soccer star Leon Bailey’s week has been a welcome boost, following his shockingly lacklustre display against potential suitors Bayern Munich on 6 June, with a lucrative summer move to England on the cards.
After he became a proud father to a son on Sunday, there is the added joy for the 22-year-old whizzy winger with news that Manchester United are chasing his signature.
The Bayer Leverkusen ace, who appears unhappy plying his trade in the German Bundesliga under head coach Peter Rosz, has three years left on his contract with a clutch of clubs following his progress. Bailey turned down a £30m move to Chelsea two seasons ago, when Italian Antonio Conte was in charge, with his stepfather and agent Craig Butler adamant that his protege needs to hone his trade in Germany.
But after last term’s indifferent campaign, hindered by injury, and failing to live up to his high expectations during this stop-start season – with niggling injuries, a pair of red cards and falling out of favour under Rosz – then an escape route could be just what Bailey seeks.
Following the coronavirus pandemic, Europe’s leading clubs are unlikely to be splashing the cash. And that’s exactly why the Manchester United have become the latest English Premier League to be heavily linked with the £40m-rated Kingston-born attacking midfielder.
Manchester United coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been eyeing up English rising stars Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) and Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund) but, with their values at £75m and £100m respectively, Bailey seems an absolute bargain.
Bailey, who captured the 2015-16 Belgian Young Player of the Year award at Gent prior to his £20m move to Leverkusen three years ago, remains on the radar of numerous leading clubs. He made such an immediate impact in Germany that he was voted the league’s 2017-18 Most Promising Newcomer in his maiden season.
His spellbinding performances and electrifying pace in the Bundesliga attracted interest from the English Premier League (EPL), with both Manchester City and Manchester United monitoring the youngster.
With European experience in both the Europa League and Champions League, Bailey has the sort of pedigree that Manchester United require. Despite making over a century of appearances for Leverkusen, netting 24 goals, and playing only four matches for Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz it has to be fair to state that Bailey is the unfinished article at the moment.
His stuttering season, bagging just five league goals, has resulted in his current value standing at around half of the £75m transfer fee that Leverkusen placed on the Kingston-born star from two years ago.
Other top clubs outside England – including Bayern Munich, Italian outfits AC Milan and Roma, Spanish giants Real Madrid and a string of Major League Soccer sides in North America – are reportedly keeping an eye on Bailey’s progress. However, because of his failure to maintain his fantastic form over the past 16 months their interest has been fast waning.
Manchester United, who are rebuilding their squad with talented youngsters as part of Solskjaer’s remit, could be a perfect fit for Bailey if they are willing to gamble on the him. Other EPL clubs, if they signed him, would be extremely likely to loan him immediately and that another factor that preventing Bailey signing for Chelsea and moving in England a few years ago.
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