Aston Villa bookies favourites to sign Premier League champion

Following his omission from the England squad ahead of this summer's European Championships, former Villa hero Jack Grealish is tipped to return to Villa Park and revitalise his career.
Manchester City v West Ham United - Premier League
Manchester City v West Ham United - Premier League / Alex Livesey - Danehouse/GettyImages

Manchester City and former Villa winger Jack Grealish is looking likely to return to Aston Villa during this summer's transfer window, according to the bookmakers.

It was announced last week that Grealish had missed out on selection for the England squad for Euro 2024 and the decision has shocked many. Jarrod Bowen, Anthony Gordon and Eberechi Eze have been selected ahead of Grealish after having much better seasons for their clubs. Bowen scored 16 goals and claimed 6 assists in the Premier League last season, whilst Gordon (11 goals, 10 assists) and Eze (11 goals, 4 assists) also shone whereas Grealish had a much quieter season for City.

Jack Grealish
Newcastle United v Manchester City - Carabao Cup Third Round / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Grealish featured in just 20 Premier League games last season, starting just 10 of those, and accumulated just 3 goals and 1 assist. Despite another Premier League title under his belt, Gareth Southgate decided to pick other players in greater form. Following his release from the squad, many now believe that Grealish needs to leave Manchester City in order to kick-start his career once more.

The 28 year-old winger moved from Aston Villa to Manchester City for a whopping £100 million in August 2021 following an exceptional couple of seasons in Claret and Blue. Grealish was proving to be one of the most talented attacking players in world football with his ability to dribble past anyone and contribute goals and assists. The move to Manchester City has seen Grealish win three Premier League titles, a Champions League, an FA Cup and a FIFA Club World Cup, but his career on the pitch has certainly gone backwards.

Grealish was an important part of Pep Guardiola's team and system in the 2022/23 season and was tipped to continue that good form into the next campaign. However, injuries played a part in Grealish's persistent absence from the team and when he was in the team he showed very little to stake his claim for a Euro's spot.

"He’s struggled this season."

Pep Guardiola

The skilfull ball carrier that almost single-handedly earned Villa promotion from the Championship in 2019 looks a very different player nowadays. Grealish has been described by many as a 'cog in Pep's robotic system' and has seemingly lost a huge amount of confidence. Fans rarely get a glimpse of Grealish's ability to dribble past a player as the role he plays at City doesn't require him to do so. Football fans have grown concern for the man from Solihull due to his off-the-pitch antics. Title celebrations have seen Grealish become a party animal that is seen drinking heavily and behaving poorly and the player is in danger of having his career slip away from him.


Many comparisons have been made to England legend Paul Gasgoigne. 'Gazza' and Grealish whilst in his Villa days played with very similar raw talent. An incredible ability to dribble past players and create chances. However, the comparisons between the two now are more often about off the pitch problems, that Paul Gasgoigne famously suffered from, rather than footballing ability. In order for this to change and for Grealish to be seen in a positive light once more, it is believed by most that he must leave the English champions and return to Villa Park.

For many years it was Grealish's dream to play for his boyhood club at the top level and should he return to Villa that dream would become reality. Having risen through the academy from the age of six, Grealish went on to make his Premier League debut for the club prior to relegation to the Championship.

Grealish was handed the Villa captaincy by manager Dean Smith and his performances were significant in getting the team promoted back to the top flight. After shining for the club during the COVID season, he got his big move to Manchester City in order to win trophies. Now that Grealish has done that, a return to Villa Park to represent his boyhood club in the Champions League would be the icing on the cake.

Jack Grealish, Dean Smith
Aston Villa v Derby County - Sky Bet Championship Play-off Final / Harriet Lander/Copa/GettyImages

Under Unai Emery it would be expected that Grealish would be able to recapture the magic he showed for Villa for many years. However, with PSR being a potentially big barrier for Aston Villa and their transfer ambitions this summer it would take a lot for the deal to happen. Having signed a six-year deal with a weekly salary of £300,000 back in 2021 for the sky blues it would likely require Grealish to take a major pay cut to re-join the club. With the type of personality he possesses most believe that a pay cut would not be an option for Grealish.

As an admirer of Grealish's for years at Villa, I personally would love to see him return and believe under Unai Emery's management he would get back to showing the form that made him a fan favourite at Villa Park.