Villa eye Reggae Boy Bailey, Everton close in on GrayThursday, July 22, 2021
LONDON, United Kingdom (CMC) – English Premier League clubs Aston Villa and Everton are lining up moves for two Caribbean wingers currently plying their trade with German outfit Bayer Leverkusen, according to British media reports.
Villa are preparing to make a swoop for Reggae Boy Leon Bailey, while Everton are closing in on a deal to sign Demarai Gray, who is eligible to play for Jamaica and is being targeted by the island's football authorities.
Kingston-born Bailey, 23, who has two years left on his current deal and can play on either flank, is valued at between US$34 million and $41 million.
He just enjoyed his best season so far for Leverkusen, scoring 15 goals and recording 11 assists in 40 appearances while helping the Bundesliga side qualify for the Europa League.
Bailey, who made his Jamaica debut in 2019 and is currently competing in the Concacaf Gold Cup, joined Leverkusen from Genk in 2017 and has repeatedly been on the radar of a number of clubs in England.
Villa's Head Coach Dean Smith is said to be confident the Midlands outfit can complete a deal for Bailey, who has been previously linked with Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Italian side AC Milan.
Bailey is currently on duty with Jamaica at the Concacaf Gold Cup in the United States, and was an unused substitute in their 1-0 defeat to Costa Rica on Tuesday night in Orlando, Florida.
Gray, 25, left Leicester in January 2021 and signed an 18-month deal with Leverkusen, but he only made 12 appearances last season, scoring one goal.
Birmingham-born Gray would be Rafael Benitez's third signing since he was announced as the club's new manager at the end of June.
In March, Jamaica Football Federation President Michael Ricketts included Gray in a list of English players with Jamaican heritage he suggested were “in the process of acquiring their Jamaican passport” as part of the country's plan to improve their chances of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.
Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login