Leon Bailey

Thiago to Liverpool
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Transfer news: Thiago to Liverpool; Bailey to Manchester United

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In the latest transfer news there is an update on Thiago Alcantara heading to Liverpool, while Leon Bailey is linked with a move to Manchester United, among others.

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First up, let’s start with Liverpool as Jurgen Klopp’s side are said to be chasing Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich and talks over a new contract have broken down between the silky deep-lying playmaker and the Bavarian giants.

There were reports last week that Liverpool are keen to buy the central midfielder this summer as he has just one year left on his current contract. The latest update is from Spain and it states that Thiago has told Bayern he wants to move to Liverpool and his manager at Bayern Munich, Hansi Flick, has simply replied “I hope he does not leave” when speaking before the German Cup final this weekend.

It is believed he would cost around $45 million and the sudden change in contract stance from the composed central midfielder has come as a surprise to Bayern. Thiago, 29, has only played in a couple of games since the restart due to injury but has worked his way back to fitness for the German Cup final and the resumption of the Champions League in August.

Do Liverpool need him? They could certainly do with a bit more composure in central midfield but they do have Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita, Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and James Milner as options already. Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Keita have battled injuries, while Fabinho’s form would mean spending this much on Thiago wouldn’t make a lot of sense.

This signing would also go against the model of Klopp generally buying younger players but he did spend big on Virgil van Dijk and Alisson who weren’t that young. If a player of Thiago’s quality becomes available, you have to take a look at the deal. Adding a central midfielder isn’t a priority for Liverpool but he would certainly add something slightly different. It seems like this deal is becoming a possibility as Liverpool continue to try and move forward instead of standing still.

Leon Bailey to Manchester United
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Switching from Liverpool to Manchester, and Leon Bailey has been linked with a move to Manchester United as a host of Premier League clubs will be scouting him in the German Cup final this weekend.

The Jamaica and Bayer Leverkusen winger, 22, is said to be a little unhappy with his bit-part role for Leverkusen this season as they finished fifth in the Bundesliga and were pipped to the final Champions League spot on the final day by Borussia Monchengladbach.

Liverpool, Everton and Man City are also said to be watching Bailey closely this weekend, as our partners at Sky Sports in the UK have the details.

“Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey is keen on a move to the Premier League this summer and could be available for a fee of between £20m and £30m. The 22-year old has three years left on his current deal at Leverkusen but wants to play in England and is working with Raheem Sterling’s agents, Colossal Sports Management, to boost his chances of a deal. Leverkusen were expected to demand up to £60m for Bailey this summer, but due to the effect on market prices caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, he could be available for less than half of that amount.”

So, there you have it.

Bailey has been a rising star in Europe for some time and he joined Bayer from Genk in 2017 and almost joined Bayern Munich in 2018 for $68.5 million. His form has dipped a little but his goalscoring ability from out wide is still very good and he can play on either wing or centrally.

The Man City detail is very interesting because they do need to replace Leroy Sane, even though they have a host of other star attacking talents. Man United may see this as a good time to do a deal as they have cash in the bank but seem unlikely to splash over $100 million on either Jadon Sancho or Ferran Torres.

Given the form of Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial in recent weeks, Man United don’t need to add another winger but adding Bailey for $25 million would be a bargain.

Havertz makes history in Bayer win

Freiburg v. Bayer Leverkusen recap and video highlights
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Kai Havertz made more Bundesliga history as Bayer Leverkusen got back in the win column with a 1-0 win at scrappy Freiburg on Friday.

Havertz became the first player in history to score 35 Bundesliga goals before the age of 21 with the match’s early second-half opener, assisted by Leon Bailey. He turns 21 on June 11.

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Havertz has 11 goals and five assists in Bundesliga play this season including five goals since the end of the coronavirus pause.

Bayer pulls in third place with 56 points, one ahead of RB Leipzig and one back of Borussia Dortmund. Gladbach lurks three points back.

Freiburg may have waved goodbye to its sixth-place hopes, now four points back of Wolfsburg.

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There were hints of danger for both teams in the opening throes.

Leon Bailey missed an early chance for the visitors, and Vincenzo Grifo saw a turnover at the other end denied by a sliding challenge.

Bailey was dangerous but not clinical as Bayer controlled the first half but, like many, couldn’t find away through Freiburg’s cagey, Burnley-like compactness.

Freiburg broke the other way and had a glorious chance to steal a lead when Roland Sallai sent Lucas Holer on goal, but Lukas Hradecky cut down the angle and Holer missed wide on a chance to score in consecutive matches.

Bailey played his part well in setting up Havertz’s post-halftime opener. The Jamaican dribbled into an out of traffic before cutting a path onto Havertz’s path.

Havertz rolled the ball between the legs of Freiburg star backstop Alexander Schwolow to make it 1-0 in the 55th.

Freiburg had one more big chance to get a point, as Christian Gunter crossed for Nils Petersen but the latter couldn’t get enough on the shot to beat Hradecky.

Transfer news: Tecatito to Chelsea; Bailey to Man City

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In the latest transfer news Jesus ‘Tecatito’ Corona has been linked with Chelsea, while Leon Bailey is reportedly a target for Man City.

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Starting with Mexican winger Tecatito, a report from the Daily Star claims that Chelsea are interested in signing the 27-year-old from FC Porto after scouting him. Per the report, Tecatito is valued at around $32 million by Porto and that is a third of the price of Jadon Sancho, who Chelsea are also chasing.

Tecatito has had a really good season for the Portuguese giants, scoring twice and adding 17 assists from the wing as he’s played in a more defensive role in recent months. That flexibility will be key for Frank Lampard’s Chelsea as they like to switch between a 3-4-3 and 4-3-3 and Tecatito can play in both attacking and defensive roles easily.

The report states that Inter Milan and Sevilla are both interested in Tecatito too and with Willian and Pedro set to leave Chelsea, they will be a little short of options out wide despite having Christian Pulisic, Callum Hudson-Odoi and the impending arrival of Hakim Ziyech.

Chelsea would certainly have plenty of USMNT and Mexico fans with Pulisic on one wing and Tecatito on the other. The Mexico wide-man has 42 caps and has scored seven times for El Tri and was part of their squad at the 2016 Copa America and 2018 World Cup and won the 2015 Gold Cup where he was voted the best young player in the tournament.

Bailey Man City
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Sticking with wingers, Leon Bailey is said to be a target for Man City as they expect to lose Leroy Sane to Bayern Munich in the upcoming transfer window.

Jamaica star Bailey, 22, has been in and out of the Bayer Leverkusen team this season after the emergence of Kai Havertz and Moussa Diaby and according to the Daily Mail, Man City will bid close to $50 million for Bailey.

Bailey can play on either wing and that suits Pep Guardiola’s style, as the young winger is a real goal threat too and has scored 19 goals in 83 Bundesliga appearances since arriving at Leverkusen from Genk in 2016.

Sane doesn’t seem keen to stick around at Man City and although they have a wealth of attacking options, Bailey has shown that if he’s on form he is a real handful out wide with clever runs, pure pace and the ability to finish and assist.

Report: Chelsea has $200 million transfer budget for January

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Chelsea won’t have to worry about financial constraints this January as it looks to improve its squad.

According to the Telegraph, Chelsea will have as much as $200 million to spend, after the team saved on not spending last summer during its 2019 summer transfer ban. The report states Chelsea has its sights on a number of players, including Borussia Dortmund’s Jaden Sancho and RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner, though it’s doubtful that both teams, also competing in the UEFA Champions League, will let them leave in January.

[READ: Chelsea has transfer ban reduced]

However, the report states that Chelsea believes Bayer Leverkusen’s Leon Bailey and Villarreal’s Samuel Chukwueze could be available to sign. Bailey has four goals and three assists with Leverkusen this year, and Chukwueze has six goals and two assists for Villarreal, all in multiple competitions.

Both players are wingers, which would put pressure on Christian Pulisic, along with Callum Hudson-Odoi, Mason Mount, Pedro, and Willian. Ultimately, Chelsea’s attack needs to do better at breaking down defenses, something that manager Frank Lampard has lamented, with the team having lost four of its last five matches.

Interestingly, about Pedro, the report states he could be off to MLS this offseason, though the rumor is so vague that it remains to be seen.

Jamaica’s Bailey says Bayer Leverkusen aiming high

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Bayer Leverkusen got its young speedster back at the right time.

Leon Bailey’s cut through Bayern Munich on Saturday, scoring twice in 63 minutes for a picture perfect return from a two-match red card suspension.

Both goals showed his knack for using the right angles to execute runs with his blazing speed, as the 22-year-old Jamaican scored his 20th and 21st career Bundesliga goals to lift Bayer to within six points of first place Borussia Monchengladbach via a 2-1 win at the Allianz Arena.

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It looks like an open league. And Bailey wants to see his team finish higher than its fourth place standing of the 2018/19 season.

“I see our team being at the highest level,” Bailey tells ProSoccerTalk three days after his big performance in Munich. “We have, of all the teams right now, the best chance to be in the Top Three this year.

“The Bundesliga level is high right now and the points are very close, and even the teams that are behind are doing their best to beat teams ahead of them which makes it more complicated but it’s a very intense league and I’m happy to be a part of it.”

Bayer hasn’t had Bailey for much of the season, the Bayern match his sixth league appearance in 13 opportunities thanks to the aforementioned red card suspension and a muscle injury.

He’s also managed just two 45-minute appearances in Bayer’s UEFA Champions League run, which is still alive against the odds.

Bayer lost its first three matches of the group stage and had most leaving it for dead, but beat Atletico Madrid and Lokomotiv Moscow to set up a final match day visit from Juventus.

And Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. aren’t scaring Bailey’s teammates, who need to beat already-qualified Juve and see Atleti drop points at home to Lokomotiv.

“We enter with the same approach toward every game, go into it with 100 percent focus and hopefully we can beat them here at home,” Bailey said.

It’s been a wild ride for Bailey, who started his career with Genk in Belgium, amassing 15 goals and 21 assists in 77 matches.

He’s continued to deliver following a move to Germany, posting 21 and 12 in 92 appearances. That’s seen him linked with a lot of big clubs, including Bayern Munich and Manchester City.

And at long last he’s debuted for Jamaica, earning six caps since the start of the Gold Cup in June.

Bailey assisted against the USMNT in the Reggae Boyz’s 3-1 semifinal loss, and got his first goal in a September win over Antigua and Barbuda in the CONCACAF Nations League.

“It made me learn a lot and I’m grateful that I can actually help my country, be there for them right now, and hopefully we can make it to a World Cup,” he said.

Jamaica’s the fourth ranked team in CONCACAF and will be contesting the Hex in a bid to land its first World Cup bid since 1998, its only appearance in the tournament.

“It would mean everything to me, of course for the country,” Bailey said. “Right now we have a good team, Since I joined the team a lot of English players came and I think we have a good possibility to make it.”

That, most likely, would mean getting the best of Gregg Berhalter’s USMNT.

Bailey says he sees some comparisons between what Bayer did against Bayern and what the Reggae Boyz will need to do to the Yanks.

“They have a lot of quality players and they have a system that reminds me a little bit of how Bayern Munich plays, but we can defeat them if we put our minds to it like we did against Bayern Munich.”

(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)