Grealish Gone but the Vision Remains Clear

There it is. The news that has often felt like an inevitability for so long. After months and months of intense speculation, it has been confirmed that Jack Grealish will no longer be an Aston Villa player, instead moving up the M6 to sign for Manchester City on a reported six-year deal.

The maverick midfielder has moved to the Citizens in a deal believed to be worth £100 million. This move makes 25-year-old Grealish the most expensive incoming transfer in Premier League history, as well as the most expensive British player in football history, eclipsing Gareth Bale’s huge move from Tottenham to Real Madrid in 2013.

The fact that Aston Villa fans, then, are disappointed that the club has accepted a bid to facilitate a move that is uncharted in terms of its financial package shows just how far we have come. Just three years ago, after all, Villans expected the local hero to be sold for a fee around the £25 million mark.

But this also serves to bemuse fans too. Why, many have pondered across social media and radio stations, would ‘Super Jack’ have committed to the club whilst seemingly stranded in the second division, or whilst preparing for a relegation battle, or even just weeks after staying in the Premier League by the skin of their teeth, yet not when the club is gearing up for a big European push?


𝐅𝐀𝐍 𝐎𝐏𝐈𝐍𝐈𝐎𝐍 | 𝐉𝐚𝐜𝐤 𝐆𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐡 | 𝐉𝐨𝐞𝐲 𝐌𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐭𝐨𝐧 “Grealish leaving Villa, is a bitter pill to swallow, but there is also a sense of optimism and excitement”#avfc #utv |

The timing too, feels disappointing. Of course, this is likely down to the fact that Grealish did not want to rock the boat at Villa Park. Many reputable media moguls regularly reported that the playmaker was still somewhat undecided on his future until this week. This created a circus, which played out all over social media as Youtuber and new Villa Twitter cult hero, ‘A View From the Stands’, captured peculiar clips of the conversations between Grealish and Sporting Director Johan Lange, as everyone on the #AVFC became experts in body language and lip reading.

Talking of social media, on the whole Villa fans have been a credit to their great club throughout this, with Ty Bracey, Nathan Dawe and PGR Analytics keeping morale up in the camp with their insight, positivity and all round silliness.

It is not quite Martin O’Neill levels of late pre-season disruption, but all involved will wish the decision could have been made a little earlier, with just over a week until Villa get their campaign underway at Vicarage Road.

Now, attention will turn towards securing a series of exciting transfers to bolster the squad. With the window closing for Premier League clubs at 11pm on the 31st August, this next month is now crucial in terms of recruitment. For Tottenham, when selling Bale in 2013, the money was spread across seven players, with only Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela having any success. Liverpool, upon accepting a mouth-watering offer from Barcelona for Philippe Coutinho in 2018, added key additions such as Alisson and Virgil van Dijk to take Klopp’s squad to the next level.

Similar success, which perhaps is a more realistic aim for Villa fans, is the business conducted by Leicester City, in recent years. Players such as Harry Maguire, N’golo Kanté and Riyadh Mahrez have left for pastures new, and the excellent recruitment of the Foxes both on and off the pitch have meant these key figures were not missed at all. Instead, Leicester have continued to shake-up the established order, competed in Europe and won the FA Cup after bringing in talented players such as Çağlar Söyüncü, James Maddison and Wilfred Ndidi.


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Of course, Grealish leaving Villa so late in pre-season, after two decades at his boyhood club, is a bitter pill to swallow, but there is also a sense of optimism and excitement amongst many Villa fans. The club has never been better positioned to lose our key man. We have owners whose ambition is the envy of the nation, a recruitment team who have an impressive track record, a side full of internationals, an exciting crop of hungry youngsters and a shed load of cash.

Critics have pointed out that Villa looked poor at times without Grealish last year. At that point we had Ross Barkley, who had downed tools and did not have a transfer window in which to reinforce. Now, talented players in Emiliano Buendía, Danny Ings and Leon Bailey have already joined the ranks, with £100 million left to spend sensibly on a few key additions and squad depth. Jack Grealish is a Villa hero, but it is time for new heroes to step up and write their name into claret and blue folklore.

Make no mistake, this is a great time to be a Villa fan and this is a club that has the potential to explode into the European places in the not too distant future. It is possible that this season, because of the circumstances, will be a transitional year, and more mid-table comfortability may follow, but the future is bright with or without the Brummie-born talisman.

And in Tyrone Mings, Aston Villa have an inspirational figure, who is a class act in every aspect of his life and will wear the armband with pride should, as expected, he gets the nod.

Grealish will no doubt have success at Manchester City, and crucially collect trophies and Champions League experience. He has had no problem proving the doubters wrong for so long and under Pep Guardiola he will continue to thrive. We of course will miss Jack hugely and there is surely no Villa fan who does not wish that he had remained at the club. But there is no reason why Villa, with all the financial backing and ambition of NSWE cannot aim high and keep this great juggernaut of a club rolling towards success.

Oh and Villa fans, give yourself a day off Twitter! And get that David Bradley video pumping on full volume! The show goes on!


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