It is also a reflection of quite how little substantive news there is about Aston Villa at the moment that a “transfer rumour” story should appear in The Telegraph.
The timing of this “rumour” is interesting given it has occurred whilst Villa haven’t even organised a pre-season return date with the squad, let alone entered into the business of negotiating transfers.
Further, the story has appeared just a single day after the England Under-21 side secured victory in the Toulon Tournament, of which Grealish was a noted successful part. Chin stroking time indeed.
Whilst this is a welcome upturn in both form and fortunes for our academy product, it should not detract from what has been a disastrous season for him personally.
In short, Grealish was infamously photographed passed out whilst on holiday and followed this up with a truly dismal season in terms of both performances and injury.
Therefore Jack’s professional reputation is on a knife-edge. The promise shown at the close of the 2015 campaign as Tim Sherwood guided a beleaguered Villa squad to safety and Wembley must be rediscovered. One day you’re on top of the world, blink, then you find yourself like Gabby Agbonlahor.
The Toulon Tournament is a snapshot, a welcome & interesting one, but it is no illustration of the demands of a competitive domestic dogfight.
It does though seem like the shoe is suddenly on the other foot for us as a football club. After our relegation, the prospect of our former league rivals sniffing around the remnants of our failed squad is to be expected. We have been there and bought the same faded T-Shirt from relegated sides ourselves.
This coming season could and should represent an opportunity for him to develop, partially out of the limelight, into the complete footballer that his skill suggests.
It’s a great opportunity to get competitive matches under his belt, iron out the immaturity in his game and grow into Aston Villa’s key creative player.
What we have seen to date has been raw , tantalising talent, offset against the naivety of youth.
It makes little sense for Jack to move on for the sake of moving. If he opted for Spurs any lack of high performing consistency would at best confine him to a peripheral role. Stoke, a side with established creative forwards, might represent a similar challenge. And Everton is a puzzling link given their current managerial vacancy.
With that said, money and a players own ambitions ultimately decide matters. (*not forgetting that Agents have interests also…£££)
Whilst Grealish is likely an already wealthy man for his age and achievements, the lure of a lucrative move would no doubt change the situation. As fans we collectively delude ourselves into the belief that we could personally resist offers of untold riches on account of “boyhood club” loyalty.
Pile the money high enough and the “loyalty” bleeds away. How much would it take to pull on a Blues shirt? Every man has his price.
And we’ve been down this road with Fabian Delph…if you could possibly forget?
Then there may be the school of thought that if the money is right then Villa should sell. What would the offer have to be? £10m? £15m? In the world we now operate in, where Premier League money dwarfs that of a small countries economic activity, Villa could quite feasibly receive a ridiculous bid.
Could we or should we resist these offers? Is Jack Grealish irreplaceable? Would a huge fee and saving on wages not go a long way if re-invested within the pick of the youngsters at Championship level?
There is no doubt that Villa represents a gamble for any player at the moment. Can we realistically guarantee and back up a claim to be aiming for promotion back to the Premier League at the first attempt? The takeover is very much a case of judging actions against words. Therefore a finalised deal and assurances to players like Grealish cannot come soon enough.
Can we provide the reasonable assurances that he might need at this point in time?
I suppose that there will be a summer of such speculation, particularly around Grealish, as sides look to uncover a hidden gem and seek the advantage in the most competitive and costly league in the world.
Grealish could be integral to Villa’s return or have his head turned by the riches and promises from above. Let’s hope its the former.
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