According to The Independent, Manchester City have earmarked a move for Aston Villa talisman Jack Grealish.
The England star was the subject of major speculation over the course of the summer transfer window just gone by, but he appeared to end all that by signing a new five-year deal back in September, declaring that it is “home” and that he’s “very happy here”.
That hasn’t stopped some of the Premier League’s big boys from casting admiring glances however, and The Independent now claim that it’s City who have moved ahead of neighbours Manchester United in the race to sign him.
It’s claimed that Pep Guardiola has urged the City board to make a move for the play-maker, and that he’s received a glowing reference from Kevin De Bruyne about Grealish’s talents. The report adds that whilst there’s a clause in his contract that won’t allow him to leave Villa Park for less than £100m, “many close to the player however feel it is only a matter of time until he makes the step up to one of the big six”.
A couple of months ago, a lot of Villa fans would surely have been concerned about Grealish potentially leaving. After all, the club were edging closer and closer towards relegation back to the Championship, and reports had already indicated United were prepared to make a big-money move.
But after surviving the drop on the final day, Dean Smith’s side made some wholesale improvements to their first-team squad over the summer, and have enjoyed an incredible start to the new Premier League season.
In fact, they remain just five points off the top of the table with a game in hand, and whilst it’s very early to suggest they might end up with European football at the finish of the season, they’ve given themselves the best possible chance to do just that.
And as Grealish himself said, Villa is his home. Playing in Europe with his boyhood club is surely one of his biggest dreams, and rather than it being a wild fantasy like it may have been earlier this year, it’s a very realistic possibility right now. It would mean an awful lot more to him to do something amazing with his team, then go be just another cog in a machine elsewhere.
Described as a “special player” by former Villa man Paul Merson, if Johan Lange can work his magic over the course of the next year or so to keep Grealish at the club, then it would go down as his ultimate masterpiece since arriving.