JACK GREALISH should march up to Chief Executive Christian Purslow’s office today, hammer on his door and demand …. to STAY!
The best move Aston Villa’s iconic captain could make right now is to tell Purslow, manager Dean Smith and his adoring fans he’s going nowhere.
Then thrash out a bumper pay rise, similar to his good buddy James Maddison’s six-figure new weekly deal at Leicester City, sign a lucrative new three-year-deal with the club he loves – and honour it!
Free of distractions, Grealish should then spend the next three seasons working those tiny little rolled-down socks off to refine and improve his game.
At that point, aged 27, he will be at the perfect age to pack his bags and make the career-defining move he craves at the peak of his powers.
Manchester United, Man City, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain – the football world will be the Aston Villa pearl’s oyster if he has the patience and vision to see it.
Leave this summer and I’m afraid the bench beckons.
It may well be United’s swanky, perfectly padded, heated leather executive seat – but the only benefit of that is he can’t get splinters in his a** – a bench is a bench at the end of the day, no matter how luxurious.
If Villa had gone down I’d have expected Grealish to be on his way because £20million would have been slashed from his value overnight and Villa would have needed to balance the books under harsh FFP rules, so rigorously applied by the EFL.
But when Harry Maguire is worth £80m, Villa’s asking price isn’t going to be too far south of that for the jewel in their crown who has three years left on his current deal, allowing Villa to call the shots.
My question is who is going to shell out that kind of cash in this post Covid-19 world?
Champions Liverpool don’t need him. Jurgen Klopp’s front three is set in stone – his midfield three is hard-grafting and disciplined and he gets plenty of width and quality from raiding wing-backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson.
Liverpool improved after the departure of Philip Coutinho and simply don’t need to spend £70m on Grealish.
Ditto Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City who have Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez to supply all the magic they need.
Manchester United’s marketing department might fancy cashing in on Grealish’s boy-band image – but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s needs lie elsewhere.
Why pay £70m for someone yet to win their first cap when Bruno Fernandes, a proven Portuguese international cost £20m less and is not going to be shifted?
Kai Havertz is Frank Lampard’s favoured midfield option and with Mason Mount now well established and Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech providing width, Lampard’s needs lie further back.
Does Grealish really strike you as a Jose Mourinho player?
Even if Daniel Levy was going to release the purse strings, which he won’t, Dele Alli has enough problems getting game-time, so why would Grealish leapfrog a player with more international experience?
Unless Mikel Arteta planted a money tree when he arrived at the Emirates, he doesn’t have the finances to prise Grealish away with three years left on his current deal.
Everton and Newcastle may or may not be about to spend big but why risk a sideways move which could easily end in tears?
Which brings us back to… ahem… Aston Villa!
What a day. Keeping my club in the premier league for another year. MY club ❤️⚽️ #AVFC
They have two ambitious billionaires in charge who splurged £140m last summer in a mad supermarket dash, once promotion was sealed in the play-offs.
They will invest again this summer but this time there won’t be the same panic buying of stop-gap players as before.
If Grealish studies his options he may well realise the smart move is to stay – negotiate a hefty hike in the £75,000 he currently earns and commit himself to Villa.
The mantra often trotted out about Grealish is that he would be a better player with better players around him.
If he shows patience now he could find Villa are well capable of supplying them.
Stewart Downing to Liverpool… Fabian Delph to Manchester City… Christian Benteke to Liverpool.
They all left Villa to better themselves only to discover the grass wasn’t any greener elsewhere.
Grealish is 24, has yet to win his elusive first England cap, and has just completed a decent, but not outstanding first season back in the Premier League.
Pogba and Matic never gave him a sniff the last time he played United, the same could be said when he played City in the Carabao Cup final and Foden stole his thunder.
However he will improve and – if he stays and builds on what he has at Villa – I wouldn’t be surprised if every top club in Europe is banging on Purslow’s door in three year’s time.