Monday, November 28, 2022

Manchester City In Talks With This Bundesliga Winger: What Will He Add To Guardiola’s Side?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

According to a recent report by Foot Mercato, Manchester City are in talks with Bayer 04 Leverkusen wing wizard Leon Bailey ahead of a potential move during the summer transfer period. The same source has also revealed that the Citizens have identified the Jamaican speedster as an ideal replacement for Leroy Sane, who is eager to leave the Etihad Stadium this summer.

Bailey’s Inconsistent Campaign In The BayArena

It has been a season of mixed emotions for the Kingston-born playmaker as he has struggled to find consistency with his performances on the left side of Peter Bosz’s attack. However, Bailey deserves some credit for putting in a few productive displays for the German team over the past ten months.

The 22-year-old has participated in 28 matches for Leverkusen this term, scoring seven goals and providing three assists on all fronts which highlight his incredible potential going forward. He has averaged 1.3 shots, 1.0 key passes and 1.5 dribbles per game in the Bundesliga this season (stats via whoscored). When we look deep into his stats, it is evident that Bailey can produce decent numbers in the opposition half but still has a lot to learn if he intends to break into the world-class bracket someday.

The ex-Genk youngster has also earned six senior caps for the Jamaican national side, registering one goal for his homeland in the process. If the Leverkusen whizkid can continue to show signs of progress with each season, then he has the potential to play a talismanic role for his nation in the years to come.

What Will The Jamaican International Add To Pep Guardiola’s Team?

Bailey boasts blistering pace that allows him to complete some penetrative dribbles with the ball out on the wide areas. He showcases excellent ball control and can get past his marker by turning on the afterburners down the left flank. The Jamaican can create a lot of headaches for the opposition but can sometimes lack the cutting edge in the attacking third. He can also strike the ball with a lot of power from long range which makes him a constant menace in and around the opposition penalty area.

Manchester City in talks with Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey who is seen in the photo
Leon Bailey of Leverkusen looks on prior to during the Bundesliga match between Bayer 04 Leverkusen and FC Schalke 04 at BayArena on December 07, 2019 in Leverkusen, Germany. (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Landing a winger of Bailey’s skillset will be a smart signing for the Citizens, especially if they end up parting ways with Leroy Sane this summer. The Leverkusen attacker will not only bring more pace and goals to the Etihad Stadium but also improve the overall quality of Pep Guardiola’s squad.

Bailey will also offer some much-needed competition for the likes of Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus at Manchester in the coming seasons. At 22, he is yet to embark upon the prime years of his playing career, so the Citizens will do well to lure him away from the BayArena ahead of the new campaign.

However, Bailey can sometimes be guilty of giving away the ball cheaply as evidenced by his pass success rate of 70.5% in the German top tier this season which suggests that he might struggle to adjust into Guardiola’s brand of football at the north-west of England (stats via whoscored).

All in all, Man City should only consider orchestrating a move for Bailey if they are willing to be patient with his development. Otherwise, it makes sense for them to focus on recruiting a more proven option to replace Sane if the German speedster decides to leave the Mancunian giants when the transfer window reopens later this year.

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