Floodgates could open - Experts: A move by Bailey to a big club would benefit Jamaica
Two football experts believe that local players could benefit enormously if Jamaica-born footballer Leon Bailey moves to Bayern Munich or Real Madrid in the off season.
The German Bundesliga champions, Bayern Munich, have made a £60 million pounds bid to acquire the services of Bailey, who currently plays for Bayer Leverkusen in the same league, according to reports from espn.com.
But it is reported that Bayer Leverkusen, who acquired Bailey from Belgian club Genk 18 months ago, would prefer to sell the Phoenix Academy product to Spanish giants Real Madrid. There is also news that Manchester City may make a move for the talented and exciting Bailey as they seek to bolster their squad after winning this year's English Premier League.
Clyde Jureidini, who was involved in the sale of one of Jamaica's most successful football players to date, Ricardo Gardner, to Bolton Wanderers more than 20 years ago, said it could open up the floodgates again for local players to move to Europe.
EXPLOSION OF TALENTS
"It opens up the possibilities of Jamaican talents to be looked at in a positive light at a higher value as did Ricardo Gardner's sale 20 years ago. Since that (Gardner's move), there has been an explosion of Jamaican talents getting the opportunity to go overseas," Jureidini, who is the general manager for Harbour View FC, told The Sunday Gleaner. "I think a Bailey sale could have the same effect as Gardner's signing did 20 years ago. We have come a far way as a football developing country, and there is no real reason why it should not help to cast eyes on the Jamaican football talent and, hopefully, similar or larger investments should come."
Andrew Price, the coach of Boys' Town FC, believes that Jamaica's current 48th ranking on the FIFA table could also assist in players getting contracts from European clubs again now that the attention is on the country once again.
"Because of our previous ranking (outside top 50), we were not able to get people into England. But now that we are currently ranked 48, and with the attention we are getting from Bailey's success, this will give the players the opportunity to ply their trade in England and other European countries," Price said.
Bailey, 20, emerged as one of the breakout stars of the Bundesliga in his first full campaign. He scored nine goals and six assists to push Bayer Leverkusen to a fifth-place finish in the league and qualification for the Europa League group stage.