No moves yet for England-based goal-scorers Michail Antonio and Leon Bailey
Jamal Lowe has dropped a division to join Championship club QPR on loan from EPL strugglers AFC Bournemouth this week.
While fellow Jamaican internationals Michail Antonio and Leon Bailey appear to be going nowhere during the January transfer window, they could both be shipped out in the summer.
Versatile winger/striker Lowe, who has scored twice in four games for the Reggae Boyz, missed out on Bournemouth’s winter training camp in Dubai during Qatar 2022.
Yet a combination of fitness and form, which limited the 28-year-old to only four appearances this term for the Cherries, has seen Lowe return to QPR.
Neil Critchley, the ex-Liverpool and Aston Villa assistant manager, was appointed as QPR’s head coach in mid-December to replace Paul Hall who was at the helm in an interim capacity.
Hall, who had an unsuccessful short stint as interim head coach of Jamaica, has returned to his role as manager of the QPR’s U21 team.
London-born Lowe, part of the QPR Academy, recently revealed that he was hampered by a certain Kingston-born future England international.
He explained to the official QPR website: “I was here when I was 14, but it didn’t transpire too well because Raheem Sterling was playing in a similar position and was two years younger than me.
“That closed my pathway here, but hopefully we’ve gone full circle now and we can do something special.
“It feels good to be back, and to try and do something here that I thought I was going to do many years ago.”
Lowe, who bagged eight goals in 40 appearances for Bournemouth, made a meteoric rise through the football pyramid during a career that took in non-league level.
His Jamaican team-mate Antonio, also born in London, has also enjoyed a well-documented rise through the football pyramid.
However, the 32-year-old striker is struggling to start EPL games for West Ham this term, with Italian Gianluca Scamacca preferred upfront.
Wolverhampton Wanderers, who recently appointed former Spain boss Julen Lopetegui to move away from the relegation zone, are interested in signing the Reggae Boy before the January window ends.
Antonio started West Ham’s FA Cup 1-0 success over Brentford last weekend, but failed to find the back of the net.
Yet the Hammers are currently reluctant to let him go to the EPL relegation rivals, despite being able to cash in as Antonio’s contract expires in 18 months.
Bailey could become surplus to requirements at Aston Villa, as new head coach Unai Emery is set to overhaul his squad this summer.
The Kingston-born whizzy winger did himself no favours following a horror stoppage time miss against Wolves this month.
Bailey swiftly rounded keeper Jose Sa to create an open-goal chance to score what would have been the winner, only to scuff his shot with his weaker right foot to send his effort wide of the gaping target. The 25-year-old came off the Villa Park pitch in tears.
With an attacking midfielder/winger on Emery’s shopping list, Bailey could be sold in summer. The Jamaican international was brought in to replace England star Jack Grealish, who was sold to Manchester City, with his dribbling ability and off-the-ball movements making him a popular instant replacement.
Villa fans will be understandably disappointed if Bailey exits. With his natural pace, strength and silky skills he has been a crowd pleaser at Villa Park. He is reportedly on an annual £5.2million salary since his £25m move from German club Bayer Leverkusen in 2021.
Yet the versatile left-sided winger appears to be still coming to terms with the physicality of the game in England, having struggled for form and fitness at Villa. Having spoken out against the Jamaica Football Federation before Christmas, his opportunities at international level have probably diminished.
Bailey will be hoping his club football won’t also diminish, and has a few months to prove to Emery that he’s a long-term Villa player. Knowing that Emery has a plethora of direct replacements ready to fill his boots, means that leading MLS sides in the United States could be ready to pounce for his signature.
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