Liverpool Transfer News: Reds Reportedly in Leon Bailey Race Amid Exit Rumours

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistFebruary 11, 2018

LEVERKUSEN, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 06: Leon Bailey of Leverkusen controls the ball during the DFB Cup match between Bayer Leverkusen and Werder Bremen at BayArena on February 6, 2018 in Leverkusen, Germany. (Photo by TF-Images/TF-Images via Getty Images)
TF-Images/Getty Images

Liverpool have reportedly entered the race to sign Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey after giving up on their pursuit of AS Monaco star Thomas Lemar.

The Mirror's Steve Bates reported the Reds will chase Bailey after coming to the conclusion Barcelona target Lemar will head elsewhere, although Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal are also linked with Leverkusen's speedster.

Bailey is said to be valued at a similar price to Lemar, with the Factory Squad understood to be seeking a £100 million fee for their star, despite only paying €20 million for the player in January 2017.

The former Genk star's first full season in the Bundesliga has been a roaring affair, though, and seen Bailey attract attention from some of Europe's biggest clubs, even earning comparisons to Bayern Munich great Arjen Robben, per Tifo Football:

Liverpool sold Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona in last month's transfer window and failed to bring in a replacement capable of featuring on the left wing, but Bailey could occupy that slot if the Reds meet his valuation.

The 20-year-old has a contract at the BayArena until the summer of 2022 but is displaying the kind of skill at an age that's liable to earn him another upgrade in setting should he desire it:

Bates suggested Lemar could be en route to Barca at the end of this season, with an exit from the Stade Louis II looking likely and manager Jurgen Klopp seemingly moved on from his target of the past year.

Liverpool have an edge over certain other continental suitors in their hunt for Bailey given he's previously spoken of his desire to feature in England's top flight, per Goal:

Mohamed Salah has featured largely off the right wing but can also thrive in a supporting striker role, which could allow Sadio Mane to move on to his favoured right flank while Bailey occupies the left.

Despite only arriving in Germany at the start of 2017, the Jamaican is now establishing himself as one of the Bundesliga's in-form attackers, boasting an impressive distribution in goals and assists, per German outlet DW Sports:

Liverpool previously arrived at Bayer Leverkusen's door to sign Emre Can in 2014 and will look to exploit their German connections once again, having already sealed a deal to sign Naby Keita from RB Leipzig this summer.

Bailey stands as another example of a player whose transfer value has been inflated by recent activity in the market, but the Reds are now in the race to recruit him alongside several Premier League peers.