Monday, November 28, 2022

Manchester United Prioritising This Aston Villa Midfielder Over Maddison: Huge Blow For The Villans?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

According to a recent report by Manchester Evening News, Manchester United are prioritising a summer move for Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish over Leicester City’s James Maddison as the former would be a far more affordable option, especially if the Villans end up being relegated from the Premier League this season.

The same source has also reported that Grealish is expected to seal an exit from Villa Park irrespective of whether his boyhood club can avoid relegation this season, which will be a bitter pill to swallow for Dean Smith and his long-term ambitions as the Villa manager.

Grealish’s Spectacular Run Of Form For The Villans This Season

Grealish was enjoying the best season of his football career before the football world came to a standstill because of the recent COVID-19 pandemic. The English midfielder has established himself as the top performer in Dean Smith’s first-team after putting in several goal-scoring performances in the English top-flight so far.

He has banged in nine goals and provided eight assists in 31 matches for the West Midlands giants this term across all competitions, thus making him the most productive English midfielder in the Premier League. The 24-year-old has averaged 2.1 shots, 2.7 key passes and 2.2 dribbles per game in league football this season (stats via whoscored). His incredible numbers have enhanced his reputation in English football and highlight why he has become such a fan-favourite at Villa Park.

The Birmingham-born talent has also made an impact for England at the Under-21 level, having made seven appearances for the Three Lions U-21 side while netting two goals in the process. If Grealish can continue to score and assist goals at such a high rate, then Gareth Southgate will find it difficult to leave him out of his squad for next year’s UEFA European Championship finals.

Jack Grealish of Aston Villa looks on during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur at Villa Park on February 16, 2020, in Birmingham, United Kingdom. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

What Does The English Playmaker Add To Deam Smith’s Side?

Grealish can use his mobility and football IQ to complete some lung-bursting dribbles with the ball from midfield. He can make clever turns and tends to glide past the opposition defenders effortlessly using his determination and tireless work ethic. The English midfield ace’s unselfish runs can also open up spaces for his teammates to exploit in the final third. The Villa skipper has shown a lot of desire to be active on the ball and can orchestrate some decent goal-scoring chances in the opposition half. He has the skillset and vision to be a potent threat in the decisive end of the field.

Man United Prioritising Grealish Over Maddison: Big Blow For The Midlands Outfit?

Grealish has sometimes carried the Villans on his back by scoring and creating his fair share of goals as Smith’s chief playmaker. He is quite tidy when distributing the ball after completing 84.4% of his attempted passes in the Premier League this season (stats via whoscored). Grealish is currently a priceless asset at Smith’s disposal, and so Man United’s interest in recruiting him will be a big blow for Villa and their long-term plans heading into the new campaign.

The Aston Villa boss will have a mammoth task of replacing Grealish even if Man United end up tabling a big-money bid for his services this summer. The fact that the Villans are facing a potential relegation will also not help their cause in finding a suitable replacement capable of taking on the mantle from Grealish. For now, the best outcome the Villa fans can hope for will be their club squeezing in as much money as possible for their club captain even if it means inviting a bidding war for him before the start of the new season.

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