It’s been a month since Arsenal were last linked with lightning-quick Bayer Leverkusen winger, Leon Bailey, but the 20-year-old has finally broken his silence over a potential move… and it’s not great news.
Bailey is having a tremendous season in the Bundesliga this term. The 20-year-old has scored 11 goals and provided five assists in 23 appearances. Therefore, it’s hardly surprising that the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea are said to be sniffing around.
Speaking to Bild, Bailey admitted that while he does want to make a name for himself at the ‘highest level’, he also wants to continue to develop before he does so, and Leverkusen is apparently the ‘perfect’ place for that.
“Leverkusen is perfect for me,” Bailey, who would reportedly set his next club back £100m, told German outlet Bild, reports Metro.
“I want to develop and then I can take the next step.
“When I move to a big club, the people there will want to know me. ‘I want to make a name for myself at the highest level.”
Bailey’s comments regarding a move have been released at the same time as his father, Craig Butler, who runs the Phoenix All Stars academy in Kingston, Jamaica, has issued a 10-day ultimatum to the Jamaican Football Federation.
Speaking to S*nSport, Bailey’s father revealed that JFF has just 10 days to make a decision over the winger’s involvement in the World Cup before he and his son start looking at other options.
“We have given Jamaica 10 days to come up with a solution or we will make alternative choices,” said Butler, who’s also Bailey’s agent.
“England have made contact with us in the last few weeks and there will be more discussions in the future.
“England is not the only option – we have Malta and Belgium.”
He added: “If you end up with 17 Jamaicans playing for different nations all from my Phoenix All Stars academy, then what will that do the future of Jamaican football?
“It should force them to change how they view people instead of making it about personalities not football ability.
“Leon is 20 and has not been invited to play for the under 15s to 17s.
“The fact he is not capped now and has options is not his fault, it’s the Jamaican FA’s fault.
“We love Jamaica very much, but we would prefer to see Jamaica developing a proper national football programme that would not have a player like Leon at 20 years old not having one youth cap for the country.
“He played one Under-23 friendly for 15 minutes, so that doesn’t count, and that was because my friend became the assistant.
“The selection process is inadequate and destroys Jamaica’s chances of qualifying for another World Cup.
“So we have to make a stand and not play for Jamaica until it has a transparent selection process and has national football culture in place like England, Germany and Belgium.”
The youngster is yet to play a senior match for Jamaica.
While Bailey was born in Jamaica, his grandparents both hold British passports, so he’s allegedly hoping to play for England.
However, according to FIFA eligibility rules (via Goal), he still can’t play for England as they are British but weren’t physically born in England.
Even though Bailey’s adoptive grandparent, Frank Lesley Holman, fought in World War II for the British Air Force, FIFA indicates that the rule which would allow Bailey to be eligible on these grounds only applies to the biological ancestry of the player.