The Mail claim United sent two representatives, including chief scout Jim Lawlor, to ‘check’ on the prodigious winger during Genk’s Europa League tie Sassuolo last Thursday. They watched the highly-rated 19-year-old bag the second in a 3-1 victory over the Italian outfit, whilst recording five shots on target, two created chances and one successful dribble in a Man of the Match – by Whoscored‘s reckoning, anyway – performance.
Admittedly, not much is known of the Kingston-born Jamaican hot-shot, but ESPN have intriguingly corroborated the Mail’s claims, citing ‘sources close’ to the Premier League title hopefuls and further suggesting that Genk are braced for a bid when the transfer window opens in January – with United ready to ‘step up’ their interest.
However, Bailey’s agent simply drumming up interest by linking his client with major Premier League clubs following a stellar performance in a high-profile match (well, more high-profile than the Belgian top flight) remains a possibility.
You’d be forgiven for not knowing much about Liam Bailey – he’s hardly a household name. But The Daily Mail claim he turned down Chelsea and Ajax to sign for Genk in 2015 and in typical Jamaican style, describe him as possessing ‘electric pace’. Usain Bolt would still probably come out on top in a 100 metre sprint, though.
He’s also made it onto the 40-man shortlist for the 2016 Golden Boy award, whose previous winners include Wayne Rooney, Lionel Messi, Paul Pogba, Raheem Sterling, Anthony Martial and erm…. Mario Balotelli.
But it’s the addition of goals to the youngster’s game that has seemingly set the foundations of United’s interest. Last season, Bailey scored six times across all competitions and this year, he’s bagged five in just 10 appearances, including three strikes in the Europa League. That suggests he can produce the goods on big occasions, even if he’s still plagued by the inconsistency of youth.
Here’s a look at Bailey in action: