After months of speculated interest, Manchester City have made a formal bid for Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish.
On Thursday, Fabrizio Romano said on his Twitch channel and on Twitter that City and Villa were in discussions about a transfer for the player, and on Friday, via multiple sources, it was confirmed that the Manchester club made an official bid worth £100 million.
What happens now is anyone’s guess. We knew a bid was coming, but some of what Romano reported on Thursday–and reiterated on Friday–should give Villa supporters confidence that Grealish will remain in claret and blue.
Specifically, there were three bits of information worth noting: Aston Villa do not want to sell Grealish, the club has offered him a new, more lucrative contract, and Grealish will not force a move.
Essentially, Aston Villa owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens are still in control of the situation. They are comfortably in the driver’s seat. Grealish has four years remaining on his current deal; they absolutely, positively do not have to sell the player. And if he won’t force a move–barring the existence of a release clause in his contract–then what’s the issue?
Selling Grealish would be a major setback in Aston Villa’s quest for European football.
Well, £100 million is a lot of money. It would make Grealish the most expensive English footballer in history. Most, if not all, middle-table clubs would not think twice about selling an academy product for nine figures.
Villa appear to be on a different trajectory, though, right? NSWE have made it clear their intentions for the club: restore its glory by qualifying for Europe and pushing on for trophies. Surely they see Grealish as a part of those plans.
Interesting, then, that Ashley Preece of BirminghamLive said on Friday that NSWE “had a plan to move Villa forward once again, either with their Solihull star or without.”
Sure, Villa could kick on with a cool £100 million in the bank. The club could fill other squad needs with those funds. But let’s be very clear: Jack Grealish is irreplaceable, and his sale would signal that NWSE are not as serious about progressing the club as they first claimed.
Grealish is the best player to play for Aston Villa in a very long time. He will likely be the best player to play for Aston Villa for years and years to come. With him in the side–and a balanced, exciting squad and academy around him–Villa have the opportunity to return to the footballing elite of Europe.
Without Grealish, those dreams are all but dashed. It becomes increasingly more difficult to attract top talent with him gone. Surely NSWE understand that. Surely they see they have all the leverage here and have an opportunity to retain Grealish and continue to splash in the transfer market so that this annual question of their talisman’s future is answered this summer.
Reject the bid. Table a new contract for Grealish. Make a splash in the transfer market. Flex those financial muscles and show the footballing world that Aston Villa are serious about a return to glory.