Leon Bailey, the Jamaican international, had the opportunity to show off his silky skills in the German Cup final, but it was team-mate Kai Havertz who took take centre stage at the Olympiastadion in Berlin on Saturday (July 4).
Bayern Munich made it 17 triumphs on the bounce with a 4-2 success over Bailey’s Bayer Leverkusen side thanks to goals from David Alaba, Serge Gnarby and two second-half strikes from Polish veteran Robert Lewandowski with Sven Bender and a last-minute spot-kick from Havertz in response.
And 22-year-old ace Bailey, who scored a first-half brace against the recently crowned champions Bayern Munich last November, played a supporting role to German international Havertz by being involved for just 76 minutes although he did have a chance just 60 seconds before being withdrawn and earned a corner.
A host of English Premier League (EPL) clubs have been scouting £100m-rated Havertz this term, with Bailey having been touted with a move to England but turning down a £30m move to Chelsea three years ago.
Now Bailey, who has admitted that having an indifferent 18 months following a spate of injuries and is unconvinced by the tactics latest coach Peter Rosz, appears to be seeking an escape route from the club after playing second fiddle to Havertz all season.
As one of the most talked about rising stars in the Bundesliga, Bailey once again failed to live up to the high expectations against potential suitors Bayern Munich.
He had kicked off well against the German Bundesliga champions at their Allianz Arena Stadium last year, impressing enought to suddenly appear back on their radar. Since that sparkling display he has only produced rare glimpses of his lightening pace and silky skills, which has seen his value plummet to around the £20m mark rather than the £75m tag that his club slapped on the Kingston-born star at the start of the 2018-19 season.
But there has been no encore in the two games against Bayern Munich. He flopped in the return league match against Bayern Munich, largely anonymous in the opening half and substituted at half-time in the 4-2 home defeat at BayArena in early June. And then in the one-sided cup final.
With Leverkusen narrowly missing out on a place in next season’s Champions League, Bailey appears keen to ply his trade elsewhere and joined London-based Colossal Sports Management in mid-June in a bid to enhance his chances of moving to a top-flight EPL outfit. Colossal Sports also look after Jamaican-born England and Manchester City superstar Raheem Sterling.
Manchester City were one of five EPL clubs who sent scouts to the DFB Pokal Cup Final in Berlin, with representatives from Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool and Manchester United also present to run their eye over 21-year-old Havertz.
As the sides locked horns in the showpiece match it was Hansi Flick’s seemingly unstoppable side, having won all their games since the Bundesliga resumption following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, stamped their authority over Leverkusen from the start and breezed into a 3-0 lead thanks to strikes from Alaba (16 mins), Gnabry (24 mins) and Lewandowski (59 mins). Bender reduced the arrears after 63 minutes with Havertz slotting home a penalty five minutes into injury time.
Whizzy winger Bailey, who has been living in the shadows of Havertz, has three years remaining on his current Leverkusen deal but appears less than happy with his involvement under Bosz and scored only five goals this term.
Having moved to the German top tier from Belgium side Genk for £12.5m in January 2017, Bailey has bagged 19 goals in 89 Bundesliga matches.
Since making his debut for Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz against Honduras in June 2019, he has publicly criticised national head coach Theodore Whitmore for regularly overlooking overseas players and instead selecting squad members who ply their trade in Jamaica’s Red Stripe Premier League.
Although Bailey, who last month welcomed his first child, will get to tackle the Europa League next month. He was the German heavyweights’ hero in the opening leg last 16 success over Scottish giants Rangers, scoring a stinging wonder goal in the 3-1 victory with an exquisitely curled goal.
Unless the Kingston-born player can start replicate his form from a couple of seasons ago, which resulted in Chelsea tabling an unsuccessful £30m bid, then he won’t be wanted by any EPL clubs and appears to slipped off the radar of Bayern Munich.
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