Manchester United’s start to this season has been a rollercoaster of a ride.
Linked to the likes of Borussia Dortmund starlet Jadon Sancho, Leicester City star James Maddison and former Birmingham City wonderkid Jude Bellingham in the summer, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was forced to settle for nothing less than Alex Telles, Edinson Cavani and Donny van de Beek, as well as promising youngsters Amad Diallo and Facundo Pellistri. Oh the shame!
But that’s not all, though.
Solskjaer has had to dodge rampant speculation over his future at Old Trafford all the way to taking his side to the top of the table, level on points with reigning Premier League champions Liverpool. It almost beggars belief, really.
But if there’s one criticism that can be made, they arguably lack that final cutting edge in the midfield. Other than Bruno Fernandes, no other midfielder has reached double figures – Scott McTominay is the closest despite only scoring three goals in 20 appearances across all competitions.
According to The Daily Mail, United had the chance to sign Jack Grealish from Aston Villa. However, the Red Devils refused to meet their asking price, and a move failed to materialise as he signed a contract extension to extend his stay at Villa Park in the end instead.
It goes without saying that Grealish would have added a great deal to Solskjaer’s side, having provided five goals and nine assists in 15 games in the Premier League this season thus far, via Transfermarkt.
The 25-year-old bears some resemblance to his countryman Paul Gascoigne. Just like Gascoigne, he is a superb dribbler, capable of picking the ball up from inside his own half and gliding past defenders.
Per WhoScored, Grealish has managed, on average, 2.9 dribbles per game for Villa in the Premier League. By comparison, new summer recruit Van de Beek has averaged a mere 0.4 attempts over the same metric.
In terms of shots per game, there’s almost no comparison, as the England international is far ahead of the 23-year-old by quite some margin – 2.7 in contrast to Van de Beek’s abysmal 0.1, albeit from far fewer starts.
BT Sport pundit Robbie Savage believes Grealish would be an “incredible” signing for any team inside the top five, as quoted by The Daily Express.
Whether the Red Devils will regard this as a missed opportunity in the years to come remains to be seen, but Woodward will have to break the bank in order to meet Villa’s £100m valuation.
AND in other news, Manchester United must swoop for Lens defender Facundo Medina…