Having been heavily with a move to Liverpool as well as a handful of Europe’s other top clubs in the summer of 2016, Leon Bailey’s move from KRC Genk to Bayer Leverkusen in January of 2017 caught many by surprise.
The then 19-year-old was one of the brightest names in European football and was being courted by some of the game’s biggest. Or at least that had been the story. Bailey says it was all true—but that he knew he needed playing time.
“Manchester United, City, Chelsea, Liverpool,” he told FourFourTwo this week. “A lot of clubs were interested. But the most important thing as a pro is taking things a step at a time and not rushing to the top too quickly.
“Once you get there, where do you go next? I believe the right timing is important, and it was the right moment to be at Bayer Leverkusen. They are a tremendous club with so much history. A lot of good players have come from there.”
It’s clear, then, that while Leverkusen may have been the right move for Bailey at the time, he doesn’t see it as his final destination—and it seems as though the now 21-year-old Jamaican has his sights set on the Premier League.
It won’t be now, and it probably won’t be next summer. But in a year or two, if he continues to develop at Leverkusen and Liverpool need a winger, they’d have one in Bailey who would see Anfield as a destination rather than stepping stone.
“It was the perfect move for me and I’m happy I made it,” he added. “My focus isn’t really on moving anywhere yet. I’m just about what’s happening right now rather than what could happen in the future. I’m still learning.”