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3 reasons why Jack Grealish should not sign for Manchester United | Premier League 2019-20

Scott Newman
SENIOR ANALYST
Feature
Modified 10 Feb 2020, 02:50 IST

Aston Villa
Aston Villa's Jack Grealish has been linked with a move to Manchester United recently

Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish has been a man under the spotlight in recent weeks; his incredible performances in the Premier League for his boyhood club have offered them a lifeline from the looming threat of relegation, and with March’s international break looming, the potential of a maiden senior England call-up seems likely too.

Unfortunately for Villa fans, the focus on their captain has led to plenty of speculation around his future – particularly if Dean Smith’s side do end up slipping back into the EFL Championship – and the last week in particular has seen him linked with a move to Manchester United.

But should Grealish really consider joining the Red Devils? Or could it be a transfer to avoid? Here are 3 reasons why the Villa captain should reconsider any move to Old Trafford.

#1 Villa have the resources to rise up the Premier League

Nassef Sawiris (left) is one of the Premier League
Nassef Sawiris (left) is one of the Premier League's richest owners

Aston Villa currently sit in a precarious position in the Premier League; with 25 points from 25 games and only 7 wins under their belt, they occupy 17th place, just a single point above the relegation zone. But should the Midlands side survive 2019-20 and remain in the Premier League, they actually have the resources to continue to climb the table, rather than become embroiled in another fight for survival.

It’s true that money isn’t everything in football, and plenty of heavily financially backed clubs have crashed and burned, but the ability to spend cash on strengthening a squad is definitely a plus point in the modern day Premier League, and the Villains certainly have that ability. In fact, reports suggest that Villa’s primary owner, Egyptian business mogul Nassef Sawiris, is the 5th richest Premier League owner with a fortune of around $6.4bn.

That puts most other backers in the shade – including Manchester United’s owners, the US’s Glazer family. So what does this mean for Jack Grealish? Essentially, it means that while he’s Villa’s primary star player right now, another season in the Premier League will likely mean that the club’s owners will spend big to bring in even better players to play alongside him in the next campaign.

The Villains already spent well over £100m prior to the start of 2019-20, but due to their status as a newly-promoted side, it was always going to be tricky to bring in bigger stars. As an established club though, anything could be possible – even overtaking a Premier League giant like United.

As a boyhood Villa fan, a massive favourite with the Villains’ faithful and their current captain, then, if the Midlands side survive it’d make far more sense for Grealish to stick with them and see what the future holds – rather than jump a ship that isn’t actually sinking.

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#2 There could be far better options available than United

A move to Manchester City to work with Pep Guardiola could be a more attractive option for Grealish
A move to Manchester City to work with Pep Guardiola could be a more attractive option for Grealish

If Aston Villa are relegated to the EFL Championship, then it’s probably inevitable that Grealish will want to move to another club in order to stay in the Premier League. If nothing else, his potential future with the England national team likely depends on it, especially as Three Lions manager Gareth Southgate doesn’t seem willing to consider picking players from the second tier for his squad.

But does that mean he ought to move to Manchester United? Well, perhaps. The Red Devils would most likely offer him the biggest money of any Premier League club, but the truth is that for a player of Grealish’s calibre, there may well be far better options available to him than a move to Old Trafford.

The playmaker has also been linked with Manchester City in recent weeks – with reports even stating that the two Manchester clubs could end up fighting it out for his signature. If that’s the case – and the managerial situation at the clubs remains the same – then it’d almost be a no-brainer for Grealish to sign for City. After all, no offense to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but working under the legendary Pep Guardiola would definitely be more attractive to a player like the Villa man.

Grealish has also been linked with a move to Tottenham in the past – most notably in the summer of 2018 – and seemed keen to join the North London side, while another recent report has even suggested that Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid could be interested in inking the Villa man.

So would United – who have struggled for traction in recent seasons despite spending a lot of money – really be the best option for a player who seems to be wanted by all kinds of big clubs? In the 1990’s moving to Old Trafford would’ve made perfect sense, but in the 2020’s, that may not be the case at all.

#3 A move to United could bring unwanted pressure

Could Grealish cope inside Manchester United
Could Grealish cope inside Manchester United's pressure-cooker?

Even his biggest detractors would find it hard to deny that Grealish has enjoyed a fantastic return season in the Premier League thus far. In his 23 appearances for Aston Villa, the playmaker has scored 7 goals and made 5 assists, and has also been awarded Man of the Match on 3 occasions by WhoScored.com. It’s also true, though, that it’s somewhat easier to be a big fish in a small pond than being under the spotlight at a huge club like Manchester United.

Sure, there’s pressure on him at Villa Park – he’s the man who Villa fans look towards for their inspiration during tricky games – but it’s nothing like the pressure that could be on him should he make a big money move to the Red Devils.

Look at the example of Harry Maguire, for instance. The England centre-back made a move from Leicester City to United last summer for a monstrous fee of £80m – a world-record fee for a defender – and while his statistics have been practically identical to those he registered while playing for the Foxes in 2018-19, he’s come under far more criticism thus far this season.

Why? Because the microscope is permanently on any player who joins Manchester United – particularly if the Red Devils pay a huge fee for them. The same is likely to happen to new signing Bruno Fernandes, and the same would almost certainly happen to Grealish, particularly if Solskjaer’s side pay a lot of money for him, which they’d almost certainly need to do to prise him away from Villa Park.

It’s true that the playmaker may well thrive under pressure and may not mind being under the microscope, but bigger names than him have failed to cope at Old Trafford – even confident superstars like Alexis Sanchez and Paul Pogba have struggled – so perhaps he’d be better off avoiding that pressure by not joining the Red Devils in the first place. 

Published 10 Feb 2020, 02:50 IST
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