A record-breaking deal to sign one of the hottest talents in English football. Manchester City have confirmed the transfer of Jack Grealish for a reported fee of over 100 million GBP making him the most expensive British player in the world. A deal that also breaks the clubs own record for incoming transfer. Manchester City has already sent a warning to the rest of the league and with the potential signing of Harry Kane still on the cards, the Premier League Champions might just be unstoppable once again.
We are delighted to announce the signing of @JackGrealish on a six-year deal.
Welcome to City, Jack! 💙
— Manchester City (@ManCity) August 5, 2021
But, there is still a huge question on the books here. Do Manchester City, a team brimming with attacking talent, really need Jack Grealish? FootTheBall takes a closer look at what this English gem brings to the table and how he can help the Citizens in their quest for glory.
There isn’t much to discuss here in truth. Jack Grealish is already an established world-class player. Only Bruno Fernandes and Kevin de Bruyne provided more assists in the Premier League last season. And soon enough, Kevin de Bruyne and Jack Grealish will be playing side by side for Pep Guardiola, a scary prospect in itself. The Aston Villa captain has produced staggering numbers last season for a club that only finished 11th in the league.
📊 Premier League Player Form Rankings 📊
🗣️ Postponed midweek games heavily impact the standings, but Jack Grealish, the top WhoScored rated player overall in the division this season, retains his spot at No.1 pic.twitter.com/yuAVH2lzsm
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) December 31, 2020
If not for an unfortunate injury, Grealish could have propelled Villa to a Europa League berth. A favourite among English fans, the Aston Villa No.10 will be yet another quality addition to the star-studded City line-up. Yet, for £100m, did Manchester City need him?
The number of assists produced by the English attacking midfielder is as discussed, among the best in the Premier League. Capable of playing centrally or on the flanks, Grealish produced a staggering 6.18 shot-creating actions P90 last season, the top of the pile in the league. His progressive passes have been impeccable, with nearly seven passes per ninety.
— Premier League (@premierleague) June 18, 2020
An excellent touch and neat dribbling adding to his quality. Grealish thrives in tight spaces. A calf that enables him to change direction in an instant, and one that packs a punch when he drives his shots. A six-goal tally in the league exemplified his contribution to the team. A player whose quality rightfully deserves to play in the top teams in Europe. And Manchester City, Premier League Champions and Champions League finalists is the best of the lot.
But, with Bernardo Silva, Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez, Kevin de Bruyne, Phil Foden, Gabriel Jesus and Ferran Torres in the squad, where exactly does Grealish fit in. Who makes space and is this a signing that City needed?
VALUE FOR MONEY
Well, a £100m bid is not one to be taken lightly. There may be the whole talk of British players being overpriced, so this one seems a bit stretched. When teams across the globe have been buying players for cheap, it seems rather odd that Manchester City would pay a record-breaking deal to sign a player for a position that is already crowded with talent. But, in all fairness, the quality of the Villa captain is surpassed by only a handful in the league.
Keeping Aston Villa in the top flight almost single handily and then going on to help them compete against the top half of the table, Grealish has stamped his presence in the league. Aston Villa was in shambles every time their No.10 did not play. Grealish was the engine running the team, everything Villa has done last season is a credit to the efforts of the 25-year-old.
— Jack Grealish (@JackGrealish) July 29, 2021
For England, he has been amazing as well. Two assists in Europe’s premier National tournament was yet another landmark for the English forward. Although he did not start as often, his presence has elevated the Three Lions whenever he did play.
FIT AT THE CLUB
Hovering above every other team, Manchester City finished the season with the highest goal tally in the league and by a fair margin too. There was no shortage of chances being created either. It was the goalscoring department that faced the biggest problems.
The forwards lacked goals. With the departure of Sergio Aguero that has become an even bigger issue. There was no lack of chances being created, the real problem lied in their ability to finish those chances. İlkay Gündoğan slotted 13 goals from midfield while Jesus scored just nine. Raheem Sterling did score ten, but the number of shots he missed does not justify his statistics.
And so, a quality striker is what they needed. Jack Grealish is not that. Yes, his talent is unquestionable, but City really doesn’t need him. By signing Grealish, the club has hindered the aspirations of all the other rival clubs in the league. Man City’s squad depth is second to none in Europe. They can compete on all fronts with the best squads possible. And with a potential striker on its way in, Manchester City is the favourites without question.
Coming back to the point, yes, Grealish does fit the team. But whether or not he was an absolute need to have spent so much money is still questionable.
Well, what does one expect of a £100m creative playmaker? Assists, goals, assists and goals! Grealish has the quality to play for any side in Europe but to keep playing at Man City week in week out, he has to be at the top of his game. With too many players waiting to start, Grealish will have to get accustomed to being side-lined from time to time. The good news, the ageing players in City’s illustrious squad are picking up injuries and so their new acquisition will be considered the ideal replacement.
— Premier League (@premierleague) July 19, 2021
The England international will be expected to form a formidable partnership with Kevin de Bruyne. Grealish will be expected to do what he does best, create space, whether on the flank or in central areas. Drawing fouls and beating players, Grealish will have to face more deep-lying defences than he ever has before. And so, his ability to play in tight spaces to open up defences will be crucial to City’s success.