Jamaica-born winger Leon Bailey, who was a target for Arsenal and Chelsea, has signed a new deal at Bayer Leverkusen.
After much speculation throughout the summer regarding a move away from Bayer Leverkusen, Leon Bailey has signed a new deal and thus disappointing the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea who were thought to be hot his heels. Bayer Leverkusen have confirmed the news of the Jamaican-born forward’s new contract, which is to run until 2023.
Bailey had a fantastic season at Bayer Arena, where he scored 9 goals and provided 6 assists in the 30 league games he played. But the interest in Bailey has been there from big clubs ever since he joined Leverkusen back in January 2017.
The Bundesliga side considers the player an asset and have wasted no time in tying him down for the long-term future of the club, amid interest from multiple clubs in the Premier League and other big clubs from across Europe. But despite that new contract, clubs are still expected to come back next season for the winger.
“Over the past weeks and months, there have been constant rumours about Leon’s future. The player has obviously been flattered to be sought after by one or two of the big clubs. However: He really feels at home at Leverkusen, he is very professional in his approach, and he knows Bayer 04 is a very good club where he can continue to develop. That’s why we agreed to extend his contract early,” said Bayer 04 sporting director Jonas Boldt.
The new contract, however, may look like a new long-term deal, but unfortunately, it’s not. Bailey’s previous agreement with Leverkusen had an end date of 2022. So effectively with the new contract, all Bailey and Leverkusen have done is extend it by a further year.
This could also be the case that Bailey was interested in a move only to the Premier League. Additionally, there could have been talks between a few clubs in England, but both parties failed to agree on anything concrete. Alternatively, any move did not materialise due to the early closing of the English transfer window this time.
On the other hand, Bailey is also reportedly interested in representing England at International level. England manager, Gareth Southgate is known to hold a particular interest in the player, and for that purpose as well, Bailey could be angling for a move to the Premier League, now probably next summer.
To do so, Bailey still has to prove his family connections with England legally. But it’s clear that Bailey does not want to represent Jamaica at senior level, having represented the Reggae Boyz at U-23 level.
In the end, it could be considered a good deal from Leverkusen’s end to retain one of their top players, and indeed, a lot is expected from him this season. With the contract renewal, Leverkusen have kept their power over the player’s transfer, something that could happen next summer, but at a much higher price if Bailey is to continue performing the way he has done with the German club so far.