Michail Antonio, Leon Bailey and Ravel Morrison will not be available for Jamaica’s World Cup qualifying opener against Mexico on Thursday as the Jamaica Football Federation tries to navigate a Covid-19 minefield laid by the United Kingdom and other European countries.

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) could be breathing a sigh of relief as the country remained on the amber list in the latest update of the United Kingdom’s Traffic Light System, which applies to travel to and from the country.

Earlier this week, the Premier League announced that, based on the current quarantine rules, it would not release players for the upcoming round of World Cup qualifiers to countries on the UK’s red list.  It was later joined by the La Liga and Serie A competitions and yesterday, England’s second tier, the EFL also joined the list of clubs.

The concerns stem from the fact that players returning from red-listed destinations would, based on the rules, be forced to quarantine for 10 days.  The leagues argue that those conditions would lead to players missing games, in addition to having to make up for fitness requirements.

Unless an agreement can be worked out the decision will impact the availability of several teams competing in the final round of the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers, which kick off on September 2.

At current, Mexico, Panama, and Costa Rica are the teams that have been placed on the red list.  The USA, Jamaica, El Salvador, and Honduras are all on the amber list, while Canada has been moved to the green list.

Individuals returning from red list countries are required to quarantine in a managed hotel for 10 days and are subject to at least two COVID-19 tests.

Fully vaccinated individuals travelling to countries on the amber list would be subject to taking a COVID-19 test two days after arriving or before.  Non-vaccinated individuals returning from countries on the amber list would have to undergo the mandatory 10-day quarantine period.

Based on the interpretation of the rules and the club’s specific stipulation of not allowing players to travel to red list countries, the CONCACAF countries on the amber and green list could potentially have their players available.  Baring a change of circumstances, affected countries on the red list would be left short-handed.  However, vaccine stipulations, which it seems are required to exempt individuals from mandatory quarantine, could complicate things.

Jamaica has at least 10 players who ply their trade between the Premier League and England Football League (EFL).  Among the EPL players are Andre Gray (Watford), Leon Bailey (Aston Villa), and potentially Michail Antonio (West Ham) who recently received official documentation after switching from England.  It is currently not known how many of the team's overseas players are vaccinated.

 

 

Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz are likely to be without a few key English-based players ahead of the start of next month’s World Cup qualifiers if the country is shifted to the United Kingdom’s red list of travel destinations.

In recent days both the English Premier League and Spain's La Liga have declared that they will not release club players to countries that are on the UK list of red destinations, due to strict coronavirus quarantine protocols.

According to the region’s current coronavirus re-entry rules, individuals returning from red list destinations face a mandatory 10 days of hotel quarantine on return to England.  In stating that they will refuse the request of those nations for the upcoming qualifiers, the Premier League argued that in addition to the 10 days the athletes will then need more time to regain fitness and could miss a number of games.

At current, the South American countries of  Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Peru are those most likely to be heavy impacted in the region, but with La Liga also joining the decision, CONCACAF team Mexico is also likely to be affected with five players currently plying their trade in the Spanish Premier League.

Mexico will open their CONCACAF World Cup qualification hexagonal round at home to Jamaica on Thursday, September 2.  Jamaica is currently not affected by the decision as the country remains on the list of amber countries for the time being.  With the list due to be updated on Thursday, however, and a surge of cases in recent weeks it will be worth noting whether their status is changed or not.

In any case, the majority of the country’s English-based players ply their trade in the English Championship who have not issued such a directive on the matter.  The decision may, however, impact the appearance of Jamaica international’s Leon Bailey, who now plays for Aston Villa, and West Ham’s Michail Antonio, the latter having received his national identity documents was expected to make his debut for the country next month.

Aston Villa have confirmed the signing of Leon Bailey from Bayer Leverkusen for a reported £30million fee.

The Premier League club announced at the end of July that an agreement was in place with Leverkusen, with the player now completing his medical and agreeing personal terms on a contract that runs through to 2025.

A Jamaica international, Bailey scored 15 goals and provided 10 assists for the Bundesliga side across 40 appearances in all competitions last term.

The 23-year-old becomes the second big-money signing for Villa ahead of the 2021-22 season, following on from the arrival of Emiliano Buendia from Norwich City. Ashley Young has also re-joined the club on a free transfer.

"Leon is a hugely exciting young striker with great pace and creativity," Villa boss Dean Smith said of Bailey, who scored 39 goals for Leverkusen after joining from Genk in January 2017.   

"He has enjoyed a successful career at Leverkusen and we are now looking forward to watching him show his skills and talents for Aston Villa in the Premier League."

It remains to be seen if Smith will have Jack Grealish as part of his first-team squad once the transfer window closes, however, as Villa’s captain has been heavily linked with a move to champions Manchester City.

Villa have a pre-season friendly against Sevilla on Saturday before opening the new season with a trip to promoted Watford on August 14.

 

Aston Villa have confirmed an agreement has been reached with Bayer Leverkusen for the transfer of Leon Bailey.

Villa are at the centre of one of the transfer window's biggest stories, with captain Jack Grealish reportedly the subject of a £100million bid from Premier League champions Manchester City.

However, while it remains to be seen where Grealish – who is rumoured to have been offered a new contract by Villa – will play in 2021-22, Dean Smith is set to bolster his attack with the addition of Bailey.

A Jamaica international, Bailey scored 15 goals and provided 10 assists for Bundesliga side Leverkusen across 40 appearances in all competitions last term.

Versatile and with a wicked turn of pace, the 23-year-old, who joined Leverkusen from Belgian side Genk in 2017, will sign for Villa subject to completing a medical and finalising personal terms, according to a statement on the club's official website.

No fee has been confirmed, though reports suggested Leverkusen were looking to recoup at least £30m for Bailey.

Once the deal is complete, Bailey will become Villa's third major signing of the transfer window, after the additions of Emiliano Buendia and Ashley Young, for £33m and on a free transfer respectively.

Buendia's former Norwich City team-mate Tom Cantwell is also being heavily linked as Villa look to push for Europe with or without their talisman Grealish.

 

COULD BAILEY REPLACE GREALISH?

Though not exactly similar in style, both Grealish and Bailey occupy a position in the front line.

While Bailey has more pace to stretch defences, Grealish prefers to get on the ball in between the lines. However, Bailey certainly has the ability to link up with his fellow attackers.

Bailey played 13 games more than Grealish last season, with the latter tallying up seven goals and 10 assists, creating a total of 85 chances.

In contrast, Bailey crafted 63 goalscoring opportunities, also creating four fewer "big chances".

But Bailey had more shots (84 compared to 53), and registered an improved shot conversion rate of 17.86 per cent in contrast to Grealish's 13.21 per cent.

While not a traditional winger, Bailey played a pass into the box (including crosses) 224 times, 63 times more than Grealish, at an average of 7.04 per 90 minutes.

He also attempted more dribbles (5.38) per 90 minutes than Grealish (4.59), though the England international boasted a better completion rate of 2.73 per 90 – Bailey managing 2.64 successful dribbles every 90 minutes.

Should Grealish leave, Villa will at least have Buendia to help Bailey fill the creative void, while the potential addition of Cantwell would add a further runner from midfield to support Ollie Watkins.

Grealish may well still stay put, however, and if so, Smith will know European qualification has to be the aim following an 11th-place finish last season.

It seems clear that Paul Pogba will not remain at Old Trafford for the long haul.

Also clear: Paris Saint-Germain's interest in the France midfielder.

The big question that remains to be answered is the timing of a potential move for the Manchester United man.

 

TOP STORY – PSG WEIGH UP POGBA OPTIONS

Paris Saint-Germain are interested in a move for Paul Pogba but are still debating when to make their bid.

According to The Athletic, PSG have begun discussions to determine Pogba's interest in a move but have not made a formal approach to United.

While the report says a bid is expected within the next few weeks, it remains a possibility that PSG could wait until Pogba is out of contract in 2022 and deal with the player directly.

A fully fit Leon Bailey has been included in Jamaica’s 23-man squad named today for the 2021 Gold Cup competition in the United States.

Jamaica international and Bayer Leverkusen wide man Leon Bailey has recovered from a toe injury and is fit to take part in the upcoming CONCACAF Gold Cup, which gets underway next week.

The 22-year-old winger had a strong season for the German outfit, overall, providing 15 goals and 10 assists during the team’s campaign.  Overall Leverkusen finished 6th and in the European League places.

Bailey, however, suffered an injury, a broken toe, during the team’s penultimate game of the season against Werder Bremen a few weeks before the end of the season.  Initially, there was concern that the player could have missed the tournament, but he recently concerned that he was fully recovered and eager to get back on the field for the country.  He has since resumed training.

Bailey was named as part of a large preliminary squad, which has also included West Ham’s Michail Antonio and several other overseas-based players.  The winger, who has represented the country eight times is also expected to play a crucial role in the country’s attempts to qualify for the FIFA World Cup.  The CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers will resume in September.

West Ham forward Michail Antonio and Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey have both been included in a preliminary Jamaica squad for next month’s Gold Cup.

The 31-year-old Antonio switched country’s earlier this year, having never been capped by England after several seasons in the English topflight.  According to reports, the forward, who had an impressive season in the EPL, is still working on finalising his official documents to represent the Caribbean country but it is hoped the issue can be resolved in time for him to make his debut at the tournament.

Bailey also had a strong season for Leverkusen in the Bundesliga but will be fighting to be fit in time for the tournament after breaking his toe in the final few weeks of the season.

The squad will also include the likes of Swansea’s Jamal Lowe, Watford’s Andre Grey, and Reading’s Liam Moore.  The team also includes first-string goalkeeper Andre Blake and defender Damion Lowe who have been part of teams that have made two appearances at the tournament's final.  Should all the players be available it could mark the first time the team’s coach Theodore Whitmore will have a full squad at his disposal.

Jamaica preliminary squad

 MF JAHSHAUN MUSTAF - MIAMI FC (USA)

FW MICHAIL ANTONIO - WEST HAM UNITED FC (ENG)

FW LEON BAILEY - BAYER 04 LEVERKUSEN (GER)

GK DILLON BARNES - QUEENS PARK RANGERS FC (ENG)

DF AMARII BELL - BLACKBURN ROVERS FC (ENG)

GK ANDRE BLAKE - PHILADELPHIA UNION (USA)

FW BRIAN BROWN - NEW MEXICO UNITED (USA)

DF JAVAIN BROWN - VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (CAN)

FW CORY BURKE - PHILADELPHIA UNION (USA)

FW NORMAN CAMPBELL - FK GRAFIČAR BEOGRAD (SRB)

GK AKEEM CHAMBERS - WATERHOUSE FC (JAM)

MF JORDAN COUSINS - WIGAN ATHLETIC FC (ENG)

FW EAST JAVON EAST -  SANTOS DE GUAPILES (CRC)

DF ONIEL FISHER - LA GALAXY (USA)

FW JUNIOR FLEMMINGS -  BIRMINGHAM LEGION (USA)

GK KEMAR FOSTER - PORTMORE UNITED FC (JAM)

FW OWAYNE GORDON - AUSTIN BOLD (USA)

FW ANDRE GRAY - WATFORD FC (ENG)

DF WESLEY HARDING - ROTHERHAM UNITED FC (ENG)

DF MICHAEL HECTOR -  FULHAM FC (ENG)

MF KEVAUGHN ISAACS - MOUNT PLEASANT F.A. (JAM)

MF DANIEL JOHNSON - PRESTON NORTH END FC (ENG)

FW  DANE KELLY -  CHARLOTTE INDEPENDENCE (USA)

GK AMAL KNIGHT - UNATTACHED (JAM)

MF KEVON LAMBERT - PHOENIX RISING FC (USA)

DF KEMAR LAWRENCE - TORONTO FC (CAN)

DF GREGORY LEIGH - ABERDEEN FC (SCO)

MF LUCA LEVEE - HARBOUR VIEW FC (JAM)

DF DAMION LOWE - AL ITTIHAD (KSA)

MF JAMAL LOWE -  SWANSEA CITY FC (WAL)

MF TYREEK MAGEE - KAS EUPEN (BEL)

FW KEMAL MALCOLM - AD CHALATENANGO (SLV)

DF ADRIAN MARIAPPA -  BRISTOL CITY FC (ENG)

MF CHEVONE MARSH - AD CHALATENANGO (SLV)

GK DWAYNE MILLER - SYRIANSKA FC (SWE)

DF LIAM MOORE - READING FC (ENG)

MF RICARDO MORRIS - PORTMORE UNITED FC (JAM)

FW RAVEL MORRISON -  UNATTACHED (JAM)

FW COLORADO MURRAY - WATERHOUSE FC (JAM)

FW SHAMAR NICHOLSON - ROYAL CHARLEROI SC (BEL)

FW DEVER ORGILL - MKE ANKARAGUCU SK (TUR)

MF KASEY PALMER -  BRISTOL CITY FC (ENG)

MF KAHEEM PARRIS - NK KRKA (SVN)

DF ETHAN PINNOCK - BRENTFORD FC (ENG)

DF ALVAS POWELL - PHILADELPHIA UNION (USA)

FW BOBBY REID -  FULHAM FC (ENG)

DF LADALE RICHIE - MOUNT PLEASANT F.A. (JAM)

MF KEMAR ROOFE - RANGERS FC (SCO)

MF KEVIN STEWART -  BLACKPOOL FC (ENG)

DF AJEANIE TALBOTT - HARBOUR VIEW FC (JAM)

GK DENNIS TAYLOR - HUMBLE LION F.C. (JAM)

DF CURTIS TILT - ROTHERHAM UNITED FC (ENG)

FW BLAIR TURGOTT - OSTERSUNDS FK (SWE)

FW PETER VASSELL - INDY ELEVEN (USA)

MF LAMAR WALKER -  MIAMI FC (USA)

MF JE-VAUGHN WATSON - UNATTACHED (JAM)

GK JEADINE WHITE - CAVALIER F.C. (JAM)

MF DEVON WILLIAMS- MIAMI FC (USA)

FW  ROMARIO WILLIAMS - AL ITTIHAD (KSA)

MF CHAVANY WILLIS- PORTMORE UNITED FC (JAM)

 

Jamaica international and Bayer Leverkusen winger, Leon Bailey, will be out of action for the rest of the season after suffering a broken toe.

The 23-year-old sustained the injury after a collision early in the match but continued to play until halftime when he was withdrawn.    

The player then missed the team’s midweek training session, with later scans confirming that the midfielder had fractured the digit.

Bayer Leverkusen head coach Hannes Wolf confirmed on Friday that the player would not return for the season.  The diagnosis meant that Bailey missed the player’s match against Union Berlin on Saturday, a 1-1 draw, and the club’s final game against Dortmund.

"He will not be able to play again [this season]," Wolf told reporters ahead of Leverkusen's game against Berlin.

The winger was not expected to suit up for his country during the international break, due to contractual issues and it remains to be seen how long he will be out of action.

In total, Bailey has scored 15 goals this season and provided 10 assists in a solid campaign for Leverkusen who are fighting for a place in European football next season.

 

Leon Bailey scored his ninth Bundesliga goal of the season and assisted in another as Bayer Leverkusen defeated Eintracht Frankfurt 3-1 at the Bay Arena on Saturday.

 

Jamaican winger Leon Bailey scored two goals and had an assist as Bayer Leverkusen blanked Cologne 3-0 in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

Jamaica international, Leon Bailey, believes a strong performance at the FIFA World Cup would be the highlight of his career and expressed belief in the current squad’s ability to get to the next edition of the tournament in 2022.

The 23-year-old Bayer Leverkusen winger has been in splendid form for the Bundesliga club so far this season, scoring 12 goals and getting 8 assists in all competitions.  The player is, however, yet to really kick his international career into gear, scoring once in only eight appearances.

Bailey is expected to feature prominently for the team in the coming months, with Jamaica scheduled to take part in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, before beginning the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers in September.  With potentially four teams able to qualify for the 2022 World Cup, from the region, Jamaica are currently CONCACAF’s 6th best team according to the latest rankings.  The Caribbean team is, however, already in the final round and could have a good chance to qualify.  Several members of the Jamaican national team are, however, embroiled in a protracted dispute with the country’s football federation, which could have an impact on their campaign.

“I think we have a good team. We can really keep up. Go to the World Cup and keep up there. The most important thing is that it would give Jamaica a lot of attention,” Bailey told OneFootball.

Bailey, who hopes to be an inspiration to young players from Jamaica, does not want to simply make up numbers at the tournament, should the team qualify.

“Not just playing at a World Cup for Jamaica, but also asserting yourself at a World Cup with Jamaica. Don't just play the group stage. Keep up. Quarterfinals, semi-finals, even a final. That would be the greatest achievement of all time for me. "

English Premier League club Manchester United has reportedly contacted agents of Jamaica international Leon Bailey with a view to potentially securing the services of the player this summer.

The 23-year-old winger is under contract with German club Bayern Leverkusen until 2023 but rumors have run rife that the player could be set for a move away from the Bundesliga this transfer window.

With United in the marketplace for more attacking options, the Jamaica winger, who is valued somewhere in the region of £50 million, could be a solid bet.  According to reports, the Reds Devils have sent scouts to keep an eye on his development in the past 18 months.  Initially, the club was thought to be interested in Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho but the clubs remain far apart on valuation numbers.

The Jamaican has had a strong season for the German club in both the Bundesliga and European League.  In the Europa League, the player scored five times and provide 4 assists in 6 appearances, while so far, he has scored 6 league goals and dished 6 assists in 20 appearances.

Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey believes Lionel Messi needs to leave Barcelona when his contract expires at the end of the season. Such a move, Bailey believes, would take Messi closer to Cristiano Ronaldo in terms of achievement.

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