WHO: Jack Grealish
FROM WHERE: Aston Villa
TO WHERE: Manchester City
FOR HOW MUCH: £100m ($139m)
GRADE FOR MAN CITY: B+
GRADE FOR ASTON VILLA: B
Just when it seemed like they were having a quiet transfer window, Manchester City have decided to outshine every other Premier League club in the summer transfer window. They’ve grabbed up England’s Euro 2020 hero Jack Grealish for a British transfer record fee of £100m ($139m).
Considering that Pep Guardiola’s side already has brilliant players like Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez & Raheem Sterling all capable of playing in his position, Grealish’s signing just seems like the Citizens flexing their oil money. That being said, the defending PL champions get an exceptional playmaker who is bound to make a huge impact & help them defend their title next season.
WHO IS HE?
Jack Grealish is an England International who has spent (nearly) his entire footballing career at Aston Villa. He joined the club at the age of 6 & made his senior debut in 2012. He enjoyed a loan spell at the National League side Notts County in the 2013/14 season.
Grealish has made 213 appearances for Villa, scoring 32 goals & registering 43 assists across all competitions. He’s also made 12 appearances for England, registering 4 assists at that.
IS THE PRICE FAIR?
It’s probably fair to say that Man City aren’t affected by the financial impact of Covid-19 anymore. In fact, this is a statement of intent from the Premier League champions.
Grealish will also become City’s most expensive player ever with this deal thanks to the £100m ($139m) deal. He doesn’t deserve THAT much at all. Realistically speaking, is he better than Kevin de Bruyne? No. Not yet anyway.
For now, this definitely seems like overspending from City. Grealish has not won any major trophies or any prominent individual awards to earn this fee.
WHAT IMPACT CAN WE EXPECT?
Firstly, don’t expect Grealish to start in every single game for City next season. He’ll actually likely to be rotated around heavily in & out of the squad initially. In the first few games, he could even be used as a substitute before properly able to adapt to Guardiola’s complex system.
However, Grealish’s skillset means that shouldn’t take much time to happen. He is likely to play in that left-wing role, which could spell trouble for Raheem Sterling. What Jack will add to the City squad is a burst in creativity. They don’t have to be dependent on De Bruyne anymore to create that special something in the attack.
The 25-year-old scored 6 goals & provided 10 assists in 26 PL games for Villa last season. He averaged 3.1 key passes per game and was the most-fouled player in the league because of his stellar movement.
Since the start of 2020, Grealish has created 172 big goalscoring chances in the Premier League – only behind De Bruyne (212) among PL players. Basically, City now have the two best playmakers in the league.
Grealish’s skillset is also perfect for City’s style. He is very well suited for a possession-based style because of his excellent passing range. That means the midfielder should link up well with De Bruyne, Gudogan, Mahrez & co. But it’s the 25-year-old’s clutch ability to create big things in the final third which Guardiola will look to get most out of.
Because of the quality of players around him, Grealish will create many big chances in every game. It’s just upon the players around him to score them. The Englishman should also take upon set-piece duties at the club. His excellent delivery from corners & indirect free-kicks should guarantee the Citizens more goals from set-pieces.
His versatility is another big reason behind his signing. While most comfortable in the left-wing, Grealish is also efficient in the no.10 role. City can finally stop sweating over De Bruyne’s unavaibility in big games through injury knowing how Grealish can pull the strings from the middle.
But of course, Grealish isn’t just about assisting. He can also score timely goals. The 25-year-old possess great ability to score from long-range as well as slick with his short range finishing. Grealish is close to reaching his prime years, which is a big reason behind City paying up big money.
The Citizens are all about instant success & Grealish should give them that. However, it’s up to Pep Guardiola to get the best out of him in the ‘big games. Grealish has never even played in the Champions League in his career. Guardiola has to adapt him properly in his system for the 25-year-old to excel in UCL games.
It could take some time to do so, but City should hope Grealish quickly blends into the system and is the ‘complete package’ they’re hoping to get. Because unless he’s able to help them finally win the Champions League, Grealish’s signing for this price won’t be vindicated.
Man City (B+)
In Grealish, Man City get one of the best English midfielders & a fitting partner for De Bruyne. The playmaker is guaranteed to create many chances, get many assists and help them maintain dominance in the league. But £100m for a player without any major trophy in his career or UCL experience feels like too much.
Aston Villa (B)
For Villa, a fee like £100m is huge. It basically funds all their summer signings & allows them to get a solid playmaker to replace Grealish. However, they’ll definitely miss the 25-year-old’s leadership skills & immense creativity. While they still have a strong enough squad to manage a top-half finish, Villa might struggle to compete for a European spot without their inspired captain.