Manchester United were lining up a big-money move for Jack Grealish and Jamie Carragher suggested he could even improve Liverpool’s record-breaking line-up… but has Aston Villa captain’s car dash scuppered hopes of a big summer switch?
- Jack Grealish has received an enormous amounts of plaudits so far this season
- The likes of Jamie Carragher and Rio Ferdinand have been singing his praises
- His performances on the pitch for Aston Villa have seen him linked with a move
- Manchester United have been heavily linked with the England international
- However, a possible transgression off the pitch could put clubs off of a deal
- READ: Grealish pictured after ‘crashing £70,000 Range Rover into parked cars
There is no doubting Jack Grealish’s ability on the pitch. It has always been his actions off it that have raised questions marks over his chances of reaching the highest level.
Whether it was being caught inhaling ‘hippy crack’ at a hotel room bash or being pictured passed out while on holiday in Tenerife, the Aston Villa star learned the hard way that, as a promising Premier League footballer, his every move was likely to be scrutinised.
It had appeared that those episodes were behind him after knuckling down at Villa Park, becoming the talisman that all at the club were convinced he could be – driving their promotion push before shining in the Premier League this season whilst wearing the captain’s armband.
Jack Grealish has had an impressive season on the pitch with Aston Villa in the Premier League
A white Range Rover was pictured damaged after reports of a crash with parked cars
An image of a man resembling Jack Grealish, wearing odd footwear, circulated on social media, claiming he was near the incident
However, that no longer seems the case.
The pictures that emerged on Sunday of what appeared to be Grealish clad in a blue hoodie, with one slipper and one slider on his feet after allegedly crashing his £70,000 Range Rover in early hours of the morning, could signal a return to the wayward ways of the prodigious talent that came with an asterisk beside his name.
If it is proved to be the case, it is a frustration not only to his club, but to others who had been lining him up as a potential big money signing this summer – such has been his form in the top flight.
It would be a needless blemish that now threatens the player’s own future, with the likes of Manchester United now set to re-evaluate whether this is the type of star, and the type of reputation, they wish to be associated with.
Any change in heart from any club would be a sizeable blow for Grealish after the season he has had back in the top flight, where has proven his ability to mix it with the best on a regular basis.
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskkjaer was thought to want Grealish at his club
His seven goals and six assists in the league have been key to giving Dean Smith’s side a fighting chance of staving off relegation back down to the Championship, while he was a driving force in his side’s run to the Carabao Cup final.
The 24-year-old’s consistency has earned him praise from all angles, with several of the games’ top pundits quick to pinpoint the most impressive aspects of his game.
One of the stand-out comments came from Jamie Carragher, who commented on his performance after a convincing victory over Newcastle back in November.
Speaking on what he brings to a team going forward, the former Liverpool defender insisted that he brings attributes to the table that not even those in the Reds’ current front three possess.
‘Very few players have got it, it feels like when he gets the ball, the game in some ways stops because everyone waits to see what he’s going to do,’ Carragher said on the edition of Monday Night Football.
‘Defenders are scared to really engage, they’re just waiting for a clever move or a body movement, and he’s brilliant with the way he lets the ball come across his body.
‘He’s different to a lot of players and the top players, he just mentioned the Liverpool front three, and playing in that position.
‘But you think about their front three and City’s, a lot of it is about pace and making runs in behind, and even the top players at those two clubs, some of them don’t have what he has.’
Carragher is not by any means the only admirer.
Rio Ferdinand, while doing a Q&A on Instagram last week was asked to compare Grealish to another promising young midfielder in James Maddison.
Jamie Carragher heaped praise on the Aston Villa captain earlier on in the campaign
Asked to compare Grealish and James Maddison, Rio Ferdinand rated the Villa man the better
‘They’re both flying, both done unbelievably well over the last year. They’re very different players,’ the former United centre back told his followers.
‘Grealish has one thing over all these players we talk about in this position for England like Dele Alli, Maddison, Mason Mount, who can play off the striker and as an attacking midfielder.”
‘Grealish can take people on. Grealish gets the ball, he can manipulate the ball, draw players to him and leave space for someone else.
‘He’s got that bit of arrogance as well. He knows he’s a good player that’s producing. He just edges it for me.’
His form has seen calls from those inside the game for him to play a key role in Gareth Southgate’s England squad, with Jermaine Jenas stating it would be ‘embarrassing’ were he to have been left out of the squad for this month’s cancelled friendlies.
It is this level of performance, and consistency, which had attracted Manchester United in the first place – with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reportedly keen on him.
Neil Warnock suggested United should ‘just pay the money now’ to land the 24-year-old
A £60million move to Old Trafford has long been suggested as a very real possibility this summer, with some figures within the sport talking up the move.
Asked about Grealish, Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock said: ‘Manchester United are in a situation where they should just pay the money, shouldn’t they, now? I think he would be a great acquisition for them. I think he is made to measure like that.
‘I don’t want you to use it silly, but you know when you think about people like (Eric) Cantona, and people like that who have just got something magical, he does fit that bill as a young one, doesn’t he?
‘I think it would be a great signing.’
That he would be, undeniably, on the pitch. But so much in this day and age comes down to a whole package, something which United may now feel is not quite there.
The summer moved which looked like a forgone conclusion is no longer a guarantee.
Grealish has shown himself capable of mixing it with the best, but it may not be enough
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