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Leon Bailey Eyed As El Shaarawy Replacement

The rumor mill has bounced back towards Leon Bailey.

Jamaica v United States: Semifinals - 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

At this point, I have no earthly idea how many transfer pieces I've written here, but it's got to be on the order of, I don't know, 800? What I am certain of, however, is that the majority of those (or at least a healthy plurality) have revolved around wingers. From Gervinho to Juan Iturbe to Julian Draxler to Yannick Carrasco to Federico Chiesa and even Clint Dempsey once upon a time, Roma have been connected to a ton of wingers over the past decade. Some made sense, some were never likely, and some we wish we could take back, but thanks to a string of coaches who emphasized wide players, it was inevitable.

And now that Stephan El Shaarawy is officially a Shanghai player, Roma are once again in the market for a sprightly winger. While Yacine Brahimi was the first name to appear in El Shaarawy's wake, he's been joined by a decidedly more exciting option, Bayer Leverkusen's Jamaican sensation, Leon Bailey.

If that name sounds familiar, it should—he was one of the many names connected to Roma in wake of the Malcom fiasco last summer. In the end, Roma got a player as good or better than Malcom (remember that bullshit line?) in the form of Steven Nzonzi, who is...uh...not a winger, while Bailey remained at Leverkusen, scoring five goals in 1,900 league minutes, which was a bit of a drop off from his nine goal debut campaign the season prior.

Despite that dip in goals, Bailey remains as highly valued as ever, with Leverkusen slapping a €40 million valuation on the 22-year-old winger, according to Tuttomercatoweb. That's a steep, steep price to pay for such an unproven player, but Bailey is an electric talent capable of contributing in all facets of attack and can be deployed on either wing and even as an attacking midfielder in a pinch.

While Cengiz Ünder and Justin Kluivert each have important seasons ahead of them, with El Shaarawy's absence, Roma will need to bring in an additional winger either way, but whether or not they cross the €40 million threshold for only the second time in club history remains to be seen.