X

Manchester United Transfer News: Leon Bailey Hints at Premier League 'Dream'

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJanuary 9, 2018

LEVERKUSEN, GERMANY - OCTOBER 28: Leon Bailey of Leverkusen looks on during the Bundesliga match between Bayer 04 Leverkusen and 1. FC Koeln at BayArena on October 28, 2017 in Leverkusen, Germany. (Photo by TF-Images/TF-Images via Getty Images)
TF-Images/Getty Images

Bayer Leverkusen winger and reported Manchester United target Leon Bailey has admitted it's his "dream" to play in England as links associating him with a Premier League move continue to grow. 

The Jamaica under-23 international recently spoke to German newspaper Bild, and while he refused to name which club he sees as his ideal destination, he was unequivocal about the Premier League being his aim (h/t Anthony Jepson of the Manchester Evening News, via Goal):

Goal @goal

Arsenal, Chelsea and Man Utd-linked Leon Bailey is dreaming of a Premier League move. 🙏 https://t.co/DrarDe0P8O

Adrian Kajumba of the Mirror reported Chelsea and Arsenal are also in pursuit of the Leverkusen speedster, who will cost any suitor "in excess of £40 million" as his star continues to rise in the Bundesliga.

The 20-year-old signed a five-and-a-half-year contract when he moved to the BayArena from Belgian club Genk in January 2017, and WhoScored.com showed evidence he's adapted well to German football in the season since:

WhoScored.com @WhoScored

Leon Bailey: Only Timo Werner (8) has scored more goals than @leonbailey (6) of players aged 21 and under in the Bundesliga this season Full player stats -- https://t.co/gaCUD7xtOE https://t.co/Zdz9VysUwu

Metro noted United manager Jose Mourinho is still looking to add a winger to his ranks after missing out on Inter Milan's Ivan Perisic in the summer, with a January arrival not yet out of sight.

The Red Devils are likely to have funds left over from that summer miss and are already 15 points behind rivals Manchester City in the Premier League table, meaning winter recruits are bound to be sought.

Mourinho has taken to using Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial on the left flank, while Jesse Lingard has been in fine form on the opposite side, but Bailey would bring another dynamic to the position.

The youngster operates largely on the left and boasts the kind of pace to make almost anyone in the United squad envious, not to mention fine footwork to go along with it as Leverkusen demonstrated:

Bayer 04 Leverkusen @bayer04_en

When it comes to @leonbailey, defend at your own risk! https://t.co/HP0WGtPFXM

Bailey also boasts a bolt of a left foot that makes him a big threat on goal, but there are questions as to whether he is the kind of winger Mourinho is looking to bring in.

It's no surprise to see dribbling and shooting are among the trickster's strengths this season, per Football Radars, although his rate of dispossession and pass completion could improve:

Football Radars @FussballRadars

Leon Bailey - 1st half of Bundesliga 17/18 [for @1GAFC] https://t.co/1hnkCrJPZT

There's also the fact Mourinho holds a reputation for placing his faith in players in or nearing their prime rather than youngsters, and he already has two up-and-comers who can play the role in Martial and Rashford.

Leverkusen don't want to sell their star and are likely to do their best in holding out until the summer if they can keep their starlet until then, but Bailey's England dream may be the X-factor United need to force a winter deal.

🚨 SPORTS NEWS ➡️ YOUR INBOX

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.