Final development in reported Everton pursuit of highly-rated winger
By Matt Farr
Everton have failed in their attempts to sign Genk winger Leon Bailey this month, according to a report.
Sky Sports revealed in their live transfer centre blog on Tuesday (08:14) that the player had agreed to join Bayer Leverkusen in an £11.5million deal.
The Toffees were just one of a host of Premier League sides looking to sign the playmaker this month, although the Daily Mail claimed that Genk were demanding a fee closer to £20million for the 19-year-old.
The youngster is currently one of the hottest properties in Europe, but will not be heading to the Premier League anytime soon, after securing his move to the German Bundesliga.
Bayer Leverkusen also confirmed the transfer on their club’s official Twitter account
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— Bayer 04 Leverkusen (@bayer04fussball) January 31, 2017
Bailey, a Jamaican international, has been influential in the Belgian Pro League this season. From 35 appearances in all competitions, the 19-year-old has contributed eight goals and 10 assists.
During their Europa League campaign alone, including the qualification phase, Bailey registered seven goals and three assists from 12 games.
Everton boss Ronald Koeman had been looking to freshen up his attacking options, having allowed the likes of Gerard Deulofeu and Oumar Niasse to leave the club on loan this month.
However, after missing out on Bailey, he may be forced to consider a late deadline day move to sign another of his premier January targets.
Football Insider verdict
As the month progressed, Everton’s interest in Bailey never really kicked-on. After his recent success in both the Belgian league and the Europa League, he could have done some real damage for Everton in the Premier League. However, Koeman appears pretty content with the current attacking options at his disposal, with Ademola Lookman joining the ranks earlier in the month. The main disappointment arguably would have been the transfer fee, with some clubs likely to have been put-off by Genk’s reported £20million valuation of the player; yet he joined Leverkusen for around £11.5million, just a fraction above what Everton paid to sign Lookman. We could well see him in the Premier League in future, but sadly, we won’t be seeing him take to the field at Goodison Park next month.
In other Everton transfer news, Koeman has delivered his verdict on speculation linking this Everton veteran with a move away from the club.