Chelsea have reportedly received a setback in pursuit of Leon Bailey, with Bayer Leverkusen rejecting their £22 million bid for the Jamaican winger

According to a report by Daily Mail, Chelsea have been rebuffed by Bayer Leverkusen in their approach for Leon Bailey. The Bundesliga outfit have turned down the Blues’ £22 million bid for the Jamaican winger, who has been identified as a long-term replacement for Willian.

Bailey is a player who has had a lot of excitement surrounding him in the last few years. The player’s first foray into senior football in Europe came with Genk, after the Belgian club bought him from AS Trencin.

The Jamaican made his senior debut for Genk at the nascent age of 18 and was subsequently rewarded as Belgium’s Young Professional Footballer of the Year in 2015-16. This was when interest exponentially grew in Bailey, with Manchester United among the clubs tailing him, before Bayer Leverkusen eventually snapped him up.

Nearly one year into his switch to Bundesliga, and the signs show that the move has been quite a success, with Bailey bagging five goals and as many assists in 14 appearances this season. Unsurprisingly, interest in the youngster has sprung up once again, with Chelsea leading the race to sign him this time.

Antonio Conte has been quite vocal about the size of his squad, with very few options across different positions. Attack, in particular, is quite an area of concern, with Eden Hazard, Pedro and Willian the only three players who can provide width and pace.

To make matters worse, Willian is being heavily linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge to secure regular first-team minutes in order to safely book his place in Tite’s squad for next summer’s World Cup.

Furthermore, Eden Hazard’s links with Real Madrid have not died down, making it all the more necessary for Conte to bolster his attacking options. In Bailey, the Chelsea boss has just the kind of player who could replace Willian for the long-term future, with his pacy bursts.

The Blues have monitored his progress for several years, and have now tabled their initial offer for the 20-year-old. Their £22 million bid for Bailey, though, has been rebuffed by Bayer Leverkusen, who are intent on keeping hold of the young Jamaican.

If they do succeed in forcing Bayer to give in eventually, Chelsea, or any other suitors, will have to shell out much more than £22 million to sign Bailey, with more than four years still left on his current deal. It now remains to be seen if a January move sees the light of the day, or if they are forced to wait till next summer.