Leon Bailey’s great escape from the German Bundesliga to the English Premier League (EPL) sees two clubs – Leeds United and Tottenham Hotspur – in the running for the Jamaican international.
The respected German daily newspaper Bild reported over the weekend that Bailey will be bowing out of the Bundesliga with his farewell game against Wolfsburg on 20 September. The Kingston-born midfielder, also admired at Spurs by both head coach Jose Mourinho and chairman Daniel Levy, was last month rumoured to be joining the North London club by German website Sport 1.
Bailey, out-of-favour at Bayer Leverkusen, missed their 7-0 mauling of fourth tier outfit Eintracht Norderstedt 7-0 in the 1st round of the German Cup yesterday (13 September) but is expected to start their next game.
Leverkusen are willing to cash in on the 23-year-old whizzy winger if an acceptable offer is tabled, as he no longer sees eye-to-eye with head coach Peter Rosz, reported Bild.
Bailey, who has employed a England-based agent to speed up a switch to the EPL, was in London for a long weekend in mid-August. His arrival in the capital suggested that he was having a meeting with Spurs, although nothing transpired. However, Spurs will be looking at strengthening their squad following their season opening dire 1-0 defeat to Everton over the weekend.
Although Bailey helped his club to finish fifth in the German Bundesliga, to reach the league cup final and the Europa League quarter-finals, his displays over the past 20 months have been indifferent. He made 22 Bundesliga appearances last term and bagged just five goals and lacked his usual spark.
Bailey’s stepfather Craig Butler, who likes to call the shots, was getting increasingly frustrated that his protege wasn’t getting a starting spot under Rosz last term. And now Bailey’s agents are apparently ready to pay off the rest the remaining three years of his contract to leave the German outfit.
His season ahead, if Bailey stays in Germany, should be far better than his last campaign that was hit by a combination of injury, suspension and the enforced break because of the coronavirus outbreak. He also had the noose of playing second fiddle to German international Kai Havertz, who has since joined EPL title hopefuls Chelsea, so scouts have virtually ignored him.
Leeds United, who were narrowly defeated 4-3 by reigning champions Liverpool to kick off their return to the top flight, have already made some interesting transfers yet further recruitment is required. Their new striking pair of Helder Costa (bought from Wolverhampton Wanderers) and Rodrigo Moreno (Valencia) would greatly benefit from both Bailey’s pace down the left wing and his trademark telling crosses into the box.
Yet Bailey has rarely shown glimmers of his silky skills that enticed Bayer Leverkusen to splash the cash to sign him from Belgium top-flight side Genk in 2017. On the big stage against German giants Bayern Munich, who at one time were serious suitors, he has failed miserably in their last two encounters and fallen off the radar of any side in the Bundesliga.
His realistic value has severely plummeted, meaning that he would be available to a EPL club at a cut price compared to his high transfer tag just three years ago. Yet Bayer Leverkusen managing director Rudi Völler, who claims that he wants to keep the talented winger, is demanding that Bailey shows more consistency this term and backing him to return to his best.
Scouts who were clambering to recommend him a couple of seasons ago have not been able to be as enthusiastic recently because of his patchy performances. And the only known interest appears to be a potential move to the EPL, although this could all be hype from his English agents, and arguably any club signing him would be taking a huge gamble on whether he can live up to expectations in such a physical league.
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