Jack Grealish’s move to Man City for an alleged £100 million sets a new British transfer record for a player. With rumours circling since the Euros and betting exchange odds fluctuating, Grealish departed his boyhood club. City manager Pep Guardiola already has a plethora of attacking talent at his disposal. Jack Grealish adds yet another option for the defending champions. The winger contributed six goals and ten assists last season. Villa were lukewarm in their sophomore Premier League season, finishing 11th.
The transfer has certainly divided opinion. Some believe Grealish has tarnished his previously sparkling reputation at Villa Park as captain. Still others accept he is probably a cut above the rest of his former colleagues. He can certainly mix it with the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva at the Etihad. Read on, as we evaluate how Grealish can thrive as City’s number 10.
Adapting to the system
It’s no secret that Aston Villa play a very contrasting style to that of Guardiola’s swashbuckling City. The reigning champions combine fluid, penetrative passing with critical movement in and around the final third. Dean Smith’s side often rely on a mid-block to contain the opposition. They see less of the ball, relying on counter attacks and turnovers to create their chances. Grealish will have to learn quickly and Pep’s play style suits the versatile winger more. It lets him have more of the ball and less defensive responsibility. If he can force his way into the starting eleven, he could become a mainstay throughout the season.
Playing without fear
Grealish’s fee surpassed the £89 million rivals Manchester United forked out for Paul Pogba. The price tag will be a key talking point in the winger’s debut season. Fortunately, Grealish is the kind of player that steps up in the big moments. Since becoming captain, the 25-year-old helped guide Villa to survival and won’t shirk responsibility once he arrives in Manchester.
He will be competing on all fronts for silverware, a big part of his decision to join the club. “Playing in the Champions League was a massive thing for me, I haven’t done that yet,” He said. “When I was sitting there on a Tuesday or Wednesday night last year it was just what I wanted to do. To be able to do it with this club is going to be a dream.”
The impending return of supporters back to stadia after an eighteen-month absence is one of the most refreshing things about next season. We saw first hand how some sides form nosedived without the fans present to cheer them relentless throughout the duration of a season.
Home form is so essential in the Premier League. Grealish building a rapport with the Etihad faithful begins by making a great first impression. City start their season with a tough trip to Tottenham Hotspur. They then have consecutive home games against newly promoted Norwich City and then Arsenal. Grealish will look forward to having the chance to impress his new supporters.
Too much pressure?
The question regarding Grealish this season is if he will succumb to pressure to hit the ground running. If you look back to players with sizeable price tags, it took time for them to be integrated into their team’s system. To avoid another transfer catastrophe Guardiola has to manage Grealish responsibility. If he can, then he has another weapon to bolster his already impressive arsenal.