The rumour mill is well underway. Scrolling through Twitter you could come to several conclusions about anything Villa related. However, going off most sources, one thing is certain; Jack Grealish looks like he will be sold.
Grealish is a once in a generation player. This is an outlandish statement sure, but can you think of any other players, especially at Championship level, who glide past players so easily? It’s a skill which can’t be taught, and the scary thing is the 22-year-old isn’t the complete package yet. Only this season he’s started bulking up and tracking back, so just imagine what he’ll be like in four years’ time.
Another point which can’t be understated is that Grealish is a local lad, giving the team a Brummie identity. Every game he’ll give that extra few percent purely because he’s a Villa fan. The Solihull born midfielder has almost certainly helped get younger fans on board because he’s one of a few top players from the Midlands.
Villa need to stop players leaving academies and doing well. Granted Barry Bannan, Marc Albrighton and Jonathan Hogg left in different circumstances, but what example does it show if players are going right through the academy before just getting moved on? Not a good one.
Premier League Football Doesn’t Necessarily Equate to Success for Jack Grealish
As a fan of Aston Villa, the bias is clearly with me wanting Grealish to stay. Nevertheless, career wise it makes sense. How many players have done well at teams lower down the leagues, made the step up and now find their stock has taken a nosedive. Wilfred Bony was scoring almost a goal a game for Swansea before he moved to Man City, but at the Etihad he struggled for game time and form. Now back in South Wales, the Ivorians confidence looks shot and isn’t the same player anymore.
From a Villa perspective, look at Christian Benteke. At one point the big man was one of the best strikers in the Premier League, but after a move to Liverpool which didn’t work out, Benteke is now labouring at Crystal Palace and wasn’t included in Belgium’s World Cup squad this summer. Sometimes one step forward can lead to two steps back.
Grealish is good enough for the Premier League, he should be playing at that level and it’s not looking likely that Villa will get promoted in 2018-19 at the present moment. However, at 22, staying at Villa where he’s familiar with his surroundings and is guaranteed a starting place week in week out, is the clever choice.
Obviously with the financial turmoil surrounding Villa Park, selling players is a must, and Grealish is the most expensive asset. The club need to raise £40 million just to meet financial fair play requirements, so I’m sure Villa fans will fully understand why he does have to be sold. On the other hand, thinking long term, keeping Grealish could be our smartest financial move in years. Yes we might get £25 million for selling him, but if he is kept, a team is built around him and the Pride achieve promotion, the economic benefit will be much greater.
To finish on a personal note, selling Grealish will be genuinely gutting. Please Villa, don’t do it!