Tottenham Hotspur are said to have offered £15 million for Aston Villa’s midfield prodigy Jack Grealish this week, according reports from Sky Sports, and the Englishman would be well equipped for success under Mauricio Pochettino.
The club are said to be vying for another attacking talent to improve the supply line for Harry Kane, but many were surprised by Spurs’ decision to venture into the lower divisions in search of talent.
However, Pochettino has made a name for himself with developing young players, last time notably producing the Tottenham and England regular we all rave about today, Dele Alli.
The Argentine delved into League One for the first time in six years to secure the midfielder’s signature from MK Dons in 2015, and it’s safe to say he made a brilliant decision three-years on.
Grealish is clearly developing year by year, and his time in the Championship has improved his game significantly. In-fact, Villa have won 58% of games that the 22-year-old started, compared to 48% without.
He models his game around creating openings for teammates in the final third, which is why Pochettino and co are so interested this summer. His 83.7% pass succession in the opposition half was among the best in the division, bettering the likes of Championship Player of the Season, Ryan Sessegnon.
It’s evident from his natural ability, and confidence in possession that Grealish has an incredible amount of potential, and if one man is capable of unlocking it, it’s Pochettino.
The Argentine has a knack for developing players in their ideal positions, accommodating them in the right tactical set-up with the right teammates around them, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Grealish in the starting lineup for both club and country three years down the line should he join.
Financially the deal is also a bonus, as other attacking targets are being touted for fees far in excess of £15 million and Grealish could be considered a bargain in the near future.
One to Watch: Jack Grealish proves Aston Villa worth in victory over Wigan
The 22-year-old has shown maturity far beyond his age.
Jack Grealish saw his name float amongst the tabloids throughout the summer’s transfer window, where he was widely linked with a Premier League switch.
The England U21 international developed into one of the finest players outside of the top-flight last season and the general consensus is that the very top of the game is calling the 22-year-old, though he’s focused on Villa’s promotion push for now.
Tottenham Hotspur were the biggest suitors for Grealish in the summer, seeing a £25m bid rejected, and the club’s valuation of the midfielder was proven to be correct as he shone during a gloomy afternoon in the Midlands on Saturday.
Here, just days after the window slammed shut to end any chance of a move to the Premier League, Grealish got his head down and worked his socks off in a thrilling 3-2 victory over Wigan – looking bright on the ball and earning an electric reception from the home faithful.
It is little surprise that Villa want at least £30m for the midfield star and the reality is that a price in that region would still be a snip in the modern window for a player of Grealish’s capability – as identified by boss Steve Bruce.
“He reproduced the form that he produced last year that made him into a £30m footballer and he looked it today, every penny a £30m footballer. For me, he was head and shoulders above anyone else on the pitch. That’s how good he was.”
Bruce has proven to be a father figure in football for the midfielder, quickly putting his arm around Grealish after the final whistle following a game where Grealish was kicked from pillar to post by Wigan, doing well not to react.
It will be a tough test for Villa and Grealish this season, with Bruce’s side picked amongst the favourites to earn a return to the Premier League, with anything less being considered a failure, and Grealish expected to be the player that leads the charge to promotion.
In other campaigns that may have proven to be a concern but Grealish has shown an incredible amount of maturity in the recent months, choosing to focus on his football rather than get drawn into the lengthy sagas that emerge in the transfer market.
It wouldn’t have been surprising, perhaps even understood, if Grealish handed in a transfer request to seal a move to Tottenham, where he would become another England ace under the guidance of Mauricio Pochettino – potentially even have the chance to push into Gareth Southgate’s squad.
It’s the sort of situation that has been witnessed time and time before. Player’s head is turned, a player pushes for transfer, a transfer is completed – but the old saying that the grass is not always greener elsewhere would have likely to be proven true.
At Spurs, Grealish would not have been guaranteed first-team football every week, he would not have been a star man and would simply have been a member of Pochettino’s supporting cast – a polar opposite to where he stands at Villa.
Having the maturity to shun all the transfer talk, put his head down and show a performance like he did against Wigan proves once again that Grealish has all the capabilities to go right to the top. Staying at Villa was certainly the right decision and the young talent looks focused, determined and full of flair.
As he said just hours after the transfer window closed on Thursday, it’s time to get to work – and Grealish has hit the ground running.
Most Aston Villa fans are baffled by Carlos Sanchez to West Ham transfer
The Colombian struggled during his time at Aston Villa.
West Ham United take on Liverpool in their opening Premier League fixture later today. There is plenty of excitement around the London Stadium for the upcoming season. Some excellent transfer business means fans might be treated to the league debuts of Jack Wilshere, Andriy Yarmolenko and Felipe Anderson this afternoon.
Another man who will hope to be in the West Ham line-up is Colombian midfielder Carlos Sanchez.
He became West Ham’s 10th signing of the summer when he joined on transfer deadline day. It was a deal which shocked the fans at Aston Villa.
Because Sanchez has played in claret and blue in the Premier League before, with the Midlands side.
It is fair to say, he never did much to impress at Aston Villa.
He played 56 times for the club over two seasons but was part of the Villa team that finished way off the pace at the bottom of the top-flight in 2015-16. So he is not exactly fondly remembered by fans at Villa Park.
Many Villa fans on Twitter were dumfounded with West Ham’s decision to sign the 32-year-old from Fiorentina.
When you consider he had a fairly poor World Cup with Colombia this summer as well, Aston Villa fans are right to question such a deal.
Hammers fans will hope the warnings from the Championship club’s fanbase prove unfounded this season …
— Chris Baker (@leamrider2) August 9, 2018
— ??GrassrootsCoach? (@TheTremontiPick) August 9, 2018
Carlos Sanchez is a great player a brick wall at times but always makes one costly mistake a game, Plenty of mistakes for us. Be warned west ham fans remember who gave the penalty away against england in the world cup round 16 #AVFC #WHUFC
— Dan Wilson (@danwilson660) August 9, 2018
To be fair James he has a point. Sanchez was absolutely poor at #avfc
— Sean (@seanbridgwood) August 9, 2018
Carlos Sanchez signing for West Ham though ??? #RatherHaveDjembaDjemba
— Steve Avfc Brown (@StevenBrown22) August 9, 2018
— Mark Baker (@markbaker1876) August 9, 2018
Very poor player is Sanchez. Never rated him. #avfc
— duncan lowen (@duncanlowen) August 9, 2018
— Chris Harte (@Christophe_197x) August 9, 2018
— Big D ??? (@Hot_Diggity_D) August 9, 2018
@davidy1982 carlos sanchez. One of the worst players ever to don an avfc shirt. Bad, bad attitude
— John clarke (@Johnclarkeavfc) August 10, 2018
One to watch: Aston Villa’s 22-year-old midfielder Jack Grealish
Introducing The Boot Room’s 2018/19 One to Watch series…
It is amazing that Jack Grealish is still only 22.
The Aston Villa midfielder has had a tumultuous career so far, marred by off-field incidents, but capped by some incredible on-field achievements in recent times.
One of those achievements was his form in the second-half of last season.
Arguably the best player in the Championship in that period, Grealish almost single-handedly lifted Villa to promotion.
He will seek to do that again this season as he will now remain at the club, despite the best efforts of Tottenham Hotspur during the summer transfer window.
Grealish’s best attribute is his dribbling. Last season, he ranked in the top 10 in the Championship for dribbles completed per 90 minutes amongst players to play over 1,000 minutes.
Importantly, he completed them at a rate just over 70%, highlighting the efficiency in which he can advance the ball.
Last season, there seemed to be more substance to his game.
Six assists and three goals were a decent haul, which he will be expecting to improve upon again this season.
Those numbers prove better when you factor in the fact that he is constantly targeted by opposition teams.
This is for two reasons. Firstly, he is an excellent player that can be put off his game by being fouled, but also because he is easily wound up.
He was fouled more times per 90 minutes than any player in the Championship last season to play over 300 minutes.
He will continue to mature and he will get even better this season.
The Englishman already seems to have matured greatly after an early season kidney issue in 2017 threatened his career and life and gave him a different perspective on football.
“I thought about how everything could be taken away from you in such a short space of time,” Grealish told the Mirror.
“I worked so hard to come back because I missed football. I wanted to be the best I could be. I was in the gym every day and my energy is so much better. I feel stronger, fitter.”
The 22-year-old is now as close to the peak of his powers as he has ever been.
Another season with Villa gives him an opportunity to propel himself to his peak and back into the Premier League.
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