Leon Bailey has no regrets at having shunned the advances of Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City in the past.
Having burst onto the scene at Belgian side Genk, the Jamaican winger has been heavily linked with moves to Premier League heavyweights for several years.
It appeared as though a switch to England would be made in January 2017 as he prepared to step up the European football ladder, but his career path took him in a different direction to Bayer Leverkusen.
Bailey has continued to flourish in Germany, sparking more transfer talk, but he considers himself to be in the perfect surroundings and in no need of an imminent change of scenery.
He told FourFourTwo of his Premier League snubs: “Manchester United, City, Chelsea, Liverpool – a lot of clubs were interested.
“But the most important thing as a pro is taking things a step at a time and not rushing to the top too quickly. Because once you get there, where do you go next?
“I believe the right timing is important, and it was the right moment to be at Bayer Leverkusen.
“They are a tremendous club with so much history. A lot of good players have come from there; they can get into the Champions League and are always doing well. So why not them? It was the perfect move for me and I’m happy I made it.
“My focus isn’t really on moving anywhere yet. I’m just about what’s happening right now rather than what could happen in the future. I’m still learning.”
Bailey admits that Chelsea have shown the strongest interest across his career to date, with the Blues having been monitoring his progress since he was a teenager.
He is now an established 21-year-old senior star and those at Stamford Bridge will face fierce competition for his signature if any transfer scramble is sparked.
“Chelsea have been interested in me since I was maybe 14 or 15, but as a young player you want to start on a normal level and not just go there because of the name of the club,” said Bailey.
“You want to develop in the right environment; around the right minds and mentality. Genk was right for me at that moment – I fitted right into the youth system perfectly. That’s where I wanted to start, so I went for it.”
Goal revealed back in May that Premier League champions Manchester City had Bailey on their radar, but he saw out the summer window in Germany and committed to a new contract in August which ties him to Leverkusen until 2023.