Bayer Leverkusen forward Leon Bailey will reportedly look to leave the club in the January transfer window if his playing time doesn't increase in the coming weeks.
Bailey, a key man for Leverkusen last season, has started just five of the team's nine games this term, scoring one goal in the process. According to Stephan Uersfeld of ESPN FC, being rotated has become an issue for the 21-year-old.
A source told ESPN FC that in January it will "be considered whatever is in the best interest of the player, and in this case it may not be to remain at Leverkusen under these circumstances."
Bailey has ambitions of becoming one of the best players in the world, and "he can't do so from the bench in Leverkusen."
While the forward signed a new long-term contract with Leverkusen in August, Uersfeld noted he told Kicker there had been interest in him from the likes of Roma, Liverpool and Chelsea. According to Raphael Honigstein of ESPN FC, Bayern Munich made a €60 million (£53 million) bid for the player in May.
Although he's found it tough to get going this season, last term was a huge breakout for the Leverkusen man. Squawka summed up how impressive he was:
Following that season, a summer of incessant links to huge clubs and a lucrative new contract, the 2018-19 campaign has served to bring Bailey back down to earth again.
He's part of a squad that has struggled badly for the overwhelming majority of the season. They sit down in 12th spot in the table after a 6-2 win over Werder Bremen on Sunday.
Bailey was only introduced into that match as a substitute and helped the team fend off a potential fightback from the hosts.
However, it's not a surprise manager Heiko Herrlich has opted to make some tweaks to the team amid their poor form.
After a big win on Sunday he will be hoping to get back into the side, especially given they've clicked into gear as an attacking force again this week:
Overall, Bailey's record in front of goal is still decent for a player so young:
While Bailey will want to feature in as many games as he can there is a duty on coaches to ensure their young players don't burn out. With that in mind and the struggles the team were enduring, some rotation made sense.
Leverkusen's decision to give Bailey a long-term deal shows the faith they have in him, and as we move towards the middle third of the season, expect Herrlich to begin calling on him more frequently.