Tottenham Hotspur got a glimpse of what could have been on Thursday evening as former transfer target Jack Grealish put in a masterclass during a rare start for the England national team.
The summer of 2018 saw an intense saga develop as Spurs pursued the Aston Villa skipper with the cash-strapped Midlands outfit preparing for life in the Championship.
They were in a race against time to pay off their debt to save the club from the prospect of administration but Daniel Levy held firm and believed he could get the star playmaker for £1m to £2m cheaper, a decision that soon turned out to be costly.
The Spurs chairman boarded the club’s flight to Los Angeles for their pre-season tour that summer but by the time he landed 11 hours later, billionaire duo Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens had saved the flailing Midlanders and subsequently upped the asking price to over £40m.
Grealish is thought to be worth in excess of £80m and that valuation was placeed upon him before he signed a lengthy contract extension last month, so he could be worth even more now.
And now he continues to show Levy exactly what a disaster his stubborn call was all those years ago.
The Villa dynamo was the Three Lions’ star man as they thrashed Wales 3-0 in a friendly – per Fotmob, Grealish recorded an 88% passing success rate, won four recoveries as well as 87.5% of his duels and enjoyed one key pass.
This has merely been a continuation of his red-hot form over the past 12 to 18 months.
He tore defending Premier League champions Liverpool apart at the weekend to make it three goals and three assists from just as many top-flight matches, which builds on his respectable 12 goal contributions last season, via WhoScored – 3.3 key passes and three shots per game for Villa is an absolute joke!
This form has led to high praise from Goal.com, who wrote: “He is an extraordinary talent; once-in-a-generation doesn’t go far enough. This is a player with the close control, first touch, and head-up vision of David Silva; the weaving dribbles and foul-drawing of Eden Hazard; the swaggering charisma and omnipresence that, to Villa fans at least, recalls George Best.”
Whilst in the past, ex-Villa striker Paul Merson has lauded Grealish as a “special player” adding: “He’s the best three or four-yard passer I’ve seen in the game for a long time.”
He has even been likened to Dele Alli by current boss Dean Smith. Oh, how badly Spurs have missed out here!
The north Londoners may have moved on with the likes of Giovani Lo Celso and Gareth Bale joining the club, but it can’t be denied, Grealish is a huge talent and one that should be playing in the Lilywhite strip in N17.
This may well not be the last time that Levy has to witness exactly why his tough-negotiating can sometimes do more bad than good for Tottenham Hotspur.
AND in other news, Jose Mourinho may have found his new Scott Parker in “talented” Spurs teen…