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Niko Kovac on Leon Bailey to Bayern Munich Transfer Speculation: 'It's Not True'

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistAugust 1, 2019

LEVERKUSEN, GERMANY - JULY 28: Leon Bailey of Bayer 04 Leverkusen looks on during the pre-season friendly match between Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Heracles Almelo on July 28, 2019 in Leverkusen, Germany. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
TF-Images/Getty Images

Bayern Munich manager Niko Kovac has dismissed speculation linking the club with a move for Bayer Leverkusen forward Leon Bailey.

Talk has gathered pace in the previous week about Bayern possibly trying to sign the winger before the transfer window closes. However, following the Munich club's loss to Tottenham Hotspur in the Audi Cup final on Wednesday, Kovac made it clear there was no interest, per Goal:

"I am not responsible for transfers, but I have to say something regarding this. I find it extraordinarily strange that you can blurt something out and nothing happens. You can just say something but it's not true.

"If you communicate something like this, there must be undeniable proof. Otherwise, you cannot spread it as news. I would ask you to check it. It's not true, it's not verified. It's false."

As the report relayed, Transfermarkt had said Bayern had agreed personal terms with the 21-year-old ahead of a possible switch.

The previous season was a struggle for Bailey, as he was only able to net five goals and grab one assist in 29 Bundesliga appearances. While he was a breakthrough star in 2017-18, it was midfielder Kai Havertz who emerged as Leverkusen's most important player in 2018-19.

Still, there's no doubt that Bailey has the talent to go a long way in the game.Β The Jamaica international posted the following clip of a tremendous goal he scored against Bayern earlier in the year:

Leon Bailey ✞ @leonbailey

🎯 https://t.co/ESgjtnKBlc

Bailey can be devastating at his best. He has been most comfortable when deployed on the left flank, where he is able to maintain width and burst around the outside of opposition full-backs.

The winger is also adept at dipping infield, where he can drive at defences and take shots at goal.

Even in a season of struggles, he was able to offer creativity:

Scouted Football @ScoutedFtbl

Most chances created by Bayer 04 Leverkusen players in the Bundesliga and Europa League this season: 80 β€’ πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺ Julian Brandt (22) 64 β€’ πŸ‡―πŸ‡² Leon Bailey (21) 40 β€’ πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺ Kevin Volland 36 β€’ πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺ Kai Havertz (19) Brandt's €25m release clause looking more enticing with every game. https://t.co/nVKm6XlyL6

In the previous campaign, losses of form and being deployed in different positions prevented Bailey from performing to his best.

Bayern appear to be on the lookout for reinforcements in the wide positions following the departures of veterans Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben at the end of last season. The club have been open about their desire to sign Leroy Sane from Manchester City, with Kovac calling him a "dream player" in an interview with Sport Bild (h/t Goal's James Westwood).Β 

German football journalist Alex Chaffer commented on what has been an interesting summer for the Bundesliga champions:

Alex Chaffer @AlexChaffer

@Bundesliga_EN Bayern Munich are entering a new era without Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben. Partner that with the sale of Mats Hummels, welcoming Lucas Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard among others. It's been a big summer of change at the Allianz Arena, but can they keep up the pace at the top?

Like Sane, Bailey is left-footed, direct and capable of producing in the final third. As such, the links to the Leverkusen man didn't appear outlandish.

However, with Kovac shutting the speculation down immediately, it will be fascinating to see who Bayern target in the final days of the transfer window as they look to add more attacking spark to the wide areas.Β Β