Bayer Leverkusen used the last day of the European transfer window to sign Jamaican forward Leon Bailey from Belgian club Genk on Monday. The Bundesliga side said in a statement the highly rated 19-year-old Bailey signed through 2022.
“This lad was also high on many other European clubs’ wish list. That’s why we’re even happier that we could see off such strong competition,” Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Voeller said.
Bailey, who will be given the No. 9 jersey at Leverkusen, is eligible for the club’s Champions League campaign despite playing in the Europa League for Genk this season.
“He is an extraordinarily fast and tricky player who will boost our attack,” Voeller said.
Leverkusen did not disclose a transfer fee but German media reported the club was paying some 12 million euros ($12.8 million) for the player.
Also, Hamburger SV signed defensive midfielder Walace from Brazilian side Gremio for a reported fee approaching 10 million euros ($10.7 million).
News agency dpa reported that the 18 Bundesliga clubs invested almost 90 million euros ($96.2 million) in new players in this transfer period, easily beating the previous record of 65 million set two years ago. Higher revenue from TV deals means the big-spending trend is likely to continue.
Wolfsburg, which has struggled this season, invested about 29.5 million euros ($31.5 million) in players like Yunus Malli from Mainz and Riechedly Bazoer from Ajax to improve upon its current position of 14th _ four points above the relegation zone. The purchases were facilitated by Julian Draxler’s move to Paris Saint-Germain.
Promoted Leipzig boosted its squad despite impressing in second place with the signing of 18-year-old central defender Dayot Upamecano from sister club Red Bull Salzburg.
Leipzig sporting director Ralf Rangnick said it was the hardest transfer of his career to ensure the Frenchman’s arrival.
Borussia Dortmund also invested in the future, beating Real Madrid to the signing of 17-year-old Swedish prospect Alexander Isak for a reported 9 million euros ($9.7 million).
Last-place Darmstadt’s requirements are more urgent. On Monday, the team signed 26-year-old defender Wilson Kamavuaka from Greek club Panetolikos and Denmark under-21 defender Patrick Banggaard from FC Midtjylland, while letting Florian Jungwirth move to the United States and terminating Victor Obinna’s contract by mutual agreement. The Nigerian made only two league appearances and one in the cup after his arrival in the offseason.