With the transfer window well and truly under way, a number of inexcusably poor and baseless rumours have already been bandied about. A player with bags of star quality is always destined to be linked with the big time and this is what’s happening to Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish.
The 22-year-old has dazzled at the back end of the 2017/18 Championship campaign and with performances like his, hearsay is always on the cards. Stoke, Swansea and West Brom, the trio recently relegated from the top flight, have been linked with him by The Guardian with absolutely no grounds whatsoever. One rumour, however, is quickly gaining traction in the press.
The most considerable whispers, rapidly turning into fully audible rumours, are linking Grealish with a move to Manchester United. The 22-year-old is bound to be thrilled by apparent interest from the Red Devils and with good reason. At a crucial stage in his career, Villa supporters couldn’t blame Grealish for wanting to try his hand at Premier League football again. He has always looked like a quality player, however, this season, the England youth star has developed his game superbly under Steve Bruce. His play making is superior to anyone else’s in the squad, his eye for a pass has improved greatly and he has learnt when to move the ball on and when to tease opponents with runs. His average of 37 successful passes per 90 minutes during the 2017/18 compared to just 19 the season is evidence of his progression.
Grealish is Villa through-and-through. Since making a name for himself across the last five years, he has never shied away from pledging his undying love to the club he grew up supporting. In April, he vowed to shun approaches from other clubs amid interest from Leicester City, even if Villa failed to win promotion. The beckoning hand of Manchester United is a different matter though.
Despite the transfer looking attractive to Grealish, it’s hard to see where he would fit into the current United set-up. Even Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford, two of the most promising young attacking players in world football, struggled for game time last season under Jose Mourinho, a coach who notoriously prefers older players and is often reluctant to give youth a chance. With Juan Mata still performing, Jesse Lingard ready to prove himself at a World Cup and Alexis Sanchez keen to show United fans he wasn’t a waste of money, there would be no place for Jack Grealish at the club.
Aforementioned Leicester would be a more realistic destination for the Solihull-born superstar. With the possibility of losing Riyad Mahrez and Demarai Gray this summer, Claude Puel’s men will be lacking flair. Grealish’s versatility as a number 10 with the ability to cover on the flanks would be more than useful in the Frenchman’s attacking system. It’s almost as if Grealish’s talents are going partially to waste in a conservative and defensive Steve Bruce side. He would be an asset to any bottom-half Premier League club with an offensive mentality and, although Bruce has been invaluable to his development, both psychologically and with regards to his playing style, the youngster would benefit from a move right now.
Although Jose Mourinho has a undoubtedly spectacular track record as a manager, his tactical approach to the game is conservative too. Even with the likes of Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku at his disposal, the Portuguese coach prefers to park the bus and grind out bore draws and mundane 1-0 victories. A system like this is sure to slow Jack Grealish’s development as a player and he could drop off the radar and fade into oblivion like many a young English talent. On the contrary, a slot in an attack-minded, free-flowing top-flight side could a sensational move for Jack Grealish. And, sadly, Villans could have no complaints.
As the club suffer at the hands of Financial Fair Play, it could be a tough few seasons for the club in the transfer market - a factor which may dent promotion hopes in seasons to come. The club set the goal of earning promotion to the Premier League and, despite their best efforts, Villa failed to fulfill that goal. If Jack Grealish wants a shot away from Villa Park, it could be the perfect time to be a tad selfish and welcome the attention.