Bayer Leverkusen’s star winger Leon Bailey has dazzled Bundesliga fans for the last two years, but the Jamaican has yet to represent his birth nation and the saga surrounding his international future continues.
He looked poised this October to represent Jamaica in October, but he pulled out of the national team camp because the Jamaican Football Federation refused to call up his brother to the squad. His brother, Kyle Butler currently turns out for Austrian second-tier side FC Juniors OÖ, but he has played sparingly.
Bailey previously was shopping around his international future and was even hoping to represent England because his grandparents have English citizenship. However, his grandparents were not born in England, so he is ineligible to represent England.
The Jamaican winger also harboured hopes of representing either Belgium or Germany, but due to residency requirements, it seems unlikely that he would be eligible for either nation in the near future. So, the forward is likely stuck with his nation of birth, but he and his management team are trying to squeeze everything they can out of Bailey accepting a call-up.
Much of the controversy rests with Bailey’s father and agent Craig Butler. The Jamaican Football Federation and Butler have feuded about Bailey’s international future for years, and he has used threats of Bailey representing another nation in an attempt to curry favours with the JFF.
The international stage is often a podium for players to show off their talent and commitment to their nation, but Leon Bailey’s case shows smaller nations sometimes get the short end of the stick. Jamaica does not play in many prestigious tournaments, and the nation has only qualified for one World Cup in 1998.
With Leon Bailey’s talents, he could change the tide of Jamaican football and become a national hero, but for the time being his international future remains uncertain.
His club team, Bayer Leverkusen will not mind a fresher and fitter Bailey as it looks like he won’t be taking long plane rides to Jamaica for international games. And, Leverkusen needs all the help they can get after their rough start to the season.
Leverkusen is floating around mid-table in a season where top dog Bayern Munich has slipped up as well. But Leverkusen is looking less at the top of the table and will have to focus on turning around their poor form.
It might be a very difficult hole to dig themselves out of considering their next run of fixtures. Betting websites have Leverkusen as underdogs in many of these upcoming matches, so predictions are that they won’t be happy going into the winter break.
It could be getting even more difficult for Leverkusen if Leon Bailey attracts enough attention to arrange a transfer away from the club.
A swath of Premier League clubs is lining up for Bailey’s services, and big money could pry Bailey away from Germany. With German citizenship far on the horizon and Belgium citizenship and call-up looking increasingly unlikely, Bailey might pack in the idea of representing another nation and instead make a big money move to England.
Under the control of his agent and father, Bailey is a likely candidate to favour the chance at stardom and riches in England. Jamaica fans would probably love if Bailey moved to England as all hopes of representing Germany or Belgium would be dashed.
So, a lot could be riding on the future of Leon Bailey, Jamaica, and Bayer Leverkusen this winter transfer window. But, fans of the Reggae Boyz may have had enough with Bailey’s antics whether he plays his club football in Germany, England, or anywhere in between.