Southampton have been linked with a move for Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey recently, and it would be a real statement of intent by Martin Semmens if he could bring him to St Mary’s.
According to 90min journalist Graeme Bailey, Southampton have joined the race to sign the 23-year-old winger this summer, with the likes of Aston Villa, Leicester City, Wolves and Everton also linked with the Jamaica international.
The report claims that the Bundesliga side would demand more than £25m for Bailey after his impressive performances in recent seasons and that Villa have not baulked at that fee, although it would be a huge signing by Southampton if they were to pay that amount to bring him in.
Ralph Hasenhuttl suggested ahead of the transfer window that Southampton’s budget meant that they would target players for £10m or less this summer, which suggests that they are unlikely to pay more than double that in order to prise Bailey away from the BayArena.
Southampton’s big-money signings in recent seasons have been less than successful, with the likes of Guido Carillo, Sofiane Boufal, Mario Lemina and Wesley Hoedt all sold for significant losses in recent years, which may well put them off the idea of breaking their transfer record for a player with no experience in the Premier League.
However, after a brief flirtation with relegation last season, Southampton have done little to strengthen their squad ahead of the new campaign, with the relatively unproven Romain Perraud arriving as Ryan Bertrand’s replacement at left-back. Theo Walcott has also joined on a permanent deal after spending last season on loan at St Mary’s, so you could argue that the Saints are no stronger than they were in the 2020/21 campaign.
Therefore, it would be a real statement of intent by Semmens and the Southampton board to go all-out for Bailey this summer, and his performances in the Bundesliga in recent seasons certainly suggest that he would be an excellent addition at St Mary’s.
Last season saw the pacey winger contribute nine goals and eight assists in 30 league appearances, averaging an impressive 7.26 rating from WhoScored for his performances, which was better than any Southampton player.
Bailey is slowly moving on from his reputation as a wonderkid, following former Leverkusen coach Heiko Herrlich’s proclamation in 2017 that the Jamaican “can do anything“. He could prove to be a superb addition to Hasenhuttl’s squad, so Semmens should definitely consider bringing him to Southampton this summer, as it would be a huge statement of intent ahead of the new season.