Leon Bailey, the Jamaican whizzy winger out-of-favour at Bayer Leverkusen, could be snapped up by either ambitious English Premier League (EPL) side Everton or Tottenham Hotspur according to German website Sport 1.
The Kingston-born star, who has progressed to next week’s Europa League quarter-finals with his German Bundesliga club, is desperately seeking an escape route as he does not see eye-to-eye with head coach Peter Rosz.
However, no transfer will be forthcoming while the 22-year-old remains in the Europa League competition where the prize for the winning side a coveted Champions League berth for next season. Bailey appeared as substitute midway through the second-half of Leverkusen’s 1-0 (4-1 aggregate) triumph over Glasgow giants Rangers on 6 August, but he’s likely to remain on the bench for the quarter-final knockout tie against Italian heavyweights Inter Milan.
The Reggae Boy, who has lived in the shadow of German team-mate Kai Havertz for the entire 2019-20 campaign, wants regular starts at club level. Yet if Havertz leaves, as expected, then Bailey should be back as a first-choice player. Scouts from leading teams in England and Spain have been monitoring Havertz all season, with EPL outfit Chelsea in pole position to pounce and sign the talented playmaker.
A couple of years ago, after Bailey turned down a move to Chelsea as he wasn’t guaranteed regular football, his value suddenly soared to US$100m. However, his indifferent form over the past 20 months has seen his transfer tag realistically hover around an absolute maximum of U$27m.
Leverkusen value the Jamaican attacking midfielder at US47m, which will have to be greatly reduced if Everton or Tottenham are even willing to discuss a potential move.
Bailey’s season has been hit by the combination of injury, suspension and the enforced break because of the coronavirus outbreak resulting in just seven goals. He has rarely shown glimmers of his silky skills that enticed Leverkusen to fork out US15m to sign him from Belgium top flight side Genk in 2017, and on the big stage against Bayern Munich – who at one time were serious suitors – he has failed miserably in their last two encounters.
He engaged an English agent recently, with Aidy Ward also responsible for looking after Jamaican-born Manchester City star Raheem Sterling, in a bid to find a new club in the lucrative EPL.
Everton head coach Carlo Ancelotti is in the process of recruiting to reshape his squad, as the Italian has been given guidance by the club owners to be regularly competing for a place in the coveted European competitions.
Tottenham’s outspoken manager Jose Mourinho, who guided his side to sixth spot in the EPL to earn a Europa League spot, favours attacking players so Bailey would be a good match under the Portugese coach.
At the moment it seems that it would be a gamble for any top EPL team to try to clinch the signature of Bailey bearing in mind his faltering form, but if he can be polished by a leading coach then the Jamaican could turn out to be the shining star that he has long promised to be.
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