Speaking exclusively to Football FanCast, former Aston Villa midfielder Lee Hendrie has tipped John McGinn to become central to Dean Smith’s plans if Jack Grealish does end up leaving Villa Park this summer.
Grealish has been Villa’s go-to man this season but continues to be linked with a move away from the Midlands club, with Manchester City said to be extremely interested in acquiring his services.
The 25-year-old attacking midfielder has scored seven goals and provided 10 assists in the current Premier League campaign, making him a player that would undoubtedly be hard to replace.
Internally, though, Hendrie expects £25.2m-rated McGinn to take on more responsibility and perhaps be the individual who Smith builds around if Grealish does depart.
When asked who is Smith likely to turn to in a Grealish-less Villa side, the retired midfielder told FFC:
“It’s a good question. McGinn’s one of our best players by a million miles. He’s certainly a seven, eight out of 10 without a shadow of a doubt every other week, if not better.”
While you would expect Villa to dip into the transfer market and bring in a like-for-like replacement for Grealish, McGinn is certainly a player who can help the Villans to move forward.
Last season, the Scotland international averaged 1.9 dribbles per league game, second only to his English team-mate, and made 1.3 key passes per league game – again, out of the players currently in Villa’s squad, only Grealish managed to record a better average (via WhoScored).