Back in February, I singled out Leon Bailey as a player Arsenal should target this summer.
The 20-year-old Jamaican speedster was number one on my list when I discussed in May about what potential wingers Arsenal should target.
Bailey joined Bayer Leverkusen for €20 million in the January of 2017 from Genk in Belgium. A slow first 6 months to his career as he settled into playing at a higher level, the season just gone was a real break through one for him.
He has been in sparkling form for the majority of the Bundesliga season and has scored some spectacular goals to help Leverkusen to fourth place and Champions League contention.
12 goals in 34 games in all competitions, he averaged a goal or assist every 148 minutes in the Bundesliga.
If you created a criteria for what Arsenal need to sign, Bailey would tick every box.
Young, quick, comfortable on the wing but has the technique to play inside. He is certainly one of the best young talents in European football right now.
Out in Singapore, Unai Emery reinforced his comments that Arsenal will still be in the market if a “big opportunity” comes up by saying;
I am very happy with how the club is working and we are working every day on how we can improve. I am with the players and those who have arrived this week, I am very happy with and I said at the last press conference that if there is an opportunity to try to sign one player, then we are looking.
Leon Bailey would be that big opportunity.
The only concern could come down to cost.
Whilst Arsenal still have plenty of money to spend – our incoming transfers have increased our yearly costs by about £30million, the club could get blown out of the water by Chelsea.
Both Eden Hazard and Willian are looking for a way out of Chelsea. One is likely to leave, if not both.
Barcelona have already bid £65m for Willian, and it would not be a surprise to see Hazard go to Real Madrid for £100m+. That will be a big chunk of change burning a whole in their pocket.
A deal for Bailey in the region of £40-£50m, Arsenal would be in the game.
A 5 year contract and wages of around £6m a year would increase club costs by £16m, still within our budget. But if Chelsea decide he is the man to replace Hazard, we could be talking about an £80m transfer fee.
Arsenal might decide that is a little too pricey for a player who has had just 18 months in the Bundesliga.
We could decide to move on Alex Iwobi, Danny Welbeck and Lucas Perez to raise additional funds for Bailey. With Perez having spent last year on loan, it would pretty much be two out, one in.
Arsenal could use their German influence to try and encourage Bailey to make it clear to Leverkusen that he wants to join the North London side.
A meeting with Sven Mislintat, a phone call from former Leverkusen goal keeper Bernd Leno, a signed picture of Mesut Ozil.
If Arsenal did sign him up,