Manchester United or Chelsea? Where next for Grealish?
It seems inevitable that Jack Grealish will leave Aston Villa this season, after their play-off final loss to Fulham and subsequent financial problems. But with a host of Premier League clubs lining up for his signature, where will he go?
Grealish burst onto the scene at the end of the 2014/15 season, putting in some impressive performances as Villa reached the FA Cup Final, before being beaten by Arsenal. His progress was halted in the following two seasons, however, as he suffered from problems both on and off the field.
Last season he rediscovered his top form, and played a crucial role in their qualification for the play-offs, including scoring a stunning volley to beat Cardiff as the season drew to a close. Grealish was Villa’s best player at Wembley in the final, but he couldn’t inspire them to victory over Fulham. But with the 22-year-old desperate to return to the Premier League and Villa facing growing financial difficulty, it seems increasingly likely that he will be leaving Villa Park this summer.
But where will he end up?
United are one of many sides who have been linked with a move for Grealish. It is likely that Jose Mourinho will be looking for a player in Grealish’s attacking midfield role after Anthony Martial’s agent confirmed that the Frenchman is looking to leave Old Trafford this summer. It’s no secret that Grealish is looking to move to a big team, and they don’t come much bigger than United. He will be hoping for regular chances in the first team though, and may feel that with the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Marcus Rashford already at the club, his opportunities may be limited.
There is still some uncertainty over who will be managing Chelsea next season, and therefore we have seen no incomings or outgoings at Stamford Bridge thus far. However, if and when a new manager does arrive, Grealish’s name will probably come up in transfer dealings. The Blues were heavily reliant on Eden Hazard at times last season, and they will be looking to ease pressure on the Belgian. There were rumours that Chelsea would look to sign Grealish and then loan him back to Villa for the season, but the midfielder has made no secret of his desire to play for England, and that is much more likely if he is playing Premier League football.
Spurs waited until the final weeks of the window before they really got going with their transfer business last summer, but with the window ending earlier this year, they can’t wait that long this time around. In recent years, Spurs have moved for young, talented, English players, and Grealish fits the bill. Daniel Levy isn’t normally keen to pay the big money for players too often though, so he may be put off by Villa’s £40 million price tag.
Leicester are known to be long-term admirers of Grealish, and with Riyad Mahrez likely to leave the club, he could be the perfect man to come in and replace him. Given how much Mahrez is likely to cost Manchester City, the fee shouldn’t be too much of a problem for the Foxes, but their interest may have cooled having completed the signing of James Maddison from Norwich City.