If Jack Grealish does move to Manchester City then the battle of the season won’t be his new club versus Liverpool or Manchester United.
Not even close.
It will be Grealish versus Raheem Sterling for a place in Pep Guardiola’s starting line-up.
A mouthwatering, rip-roaring, battle royale that will have me transfixed.
Sterling showed at Euro 2020 that he’s as comfortable as ever in his own skin and that he is now a senior pro.
And by not signing a new deal at the Etihad while telling them, ‘I’m going nowhere’, he is doing what I’d expect every great pro to do.
That is to say ‘Bring it on’ to every new signing his club wants to bring in in his position.
I sent Grealish a message recently about his proposed £100million move and posed him six questions.
They were about being a British record signing, what it would mean, how others would view him, and how many games he would play under Guardiola compared to Dean Smith at Villa.
‘What’s the competition for places in your position?’, I asked him, because, believe it or not, many players don’t think about that when they get caught up in the excitement of a move.
And if Sterling’s apparent ‘over my dead body’ musings are anything to go by then it’s something Grealish needs to consider seriously.
Remember, the same happened when the shiny, young Gabriel Jesus arrived — Sergio Aguero was supposed to be the fall guy but he refused to budge and the Brazilian has had to play second fiddle.
If Sterling does the same, Guardiola will not only have two cracking players going head-to-head for a place in City’s starting line-up but we’ll have two players going head-to-head for that left-sided attacking position for club and country over the next two years.
Whatever happens on the Sterling front, if Grealish does move to City then the idiot fringe of our support at Villa who are abusing him about it need to pipe down.
Securing £100m for a player who has played half of his career to date in the Championship, narrowly avoided relegation, had a mid-table Premier League finish and missed chunks of the last two seasons is a great deal for all involved.
I understand for a generation of young Villains that Grealish is Villa, because he’s one of their own.
But they have to remember he is a professional footballer and not a professional Villa fan.
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Also, the cracking signing of Emi Buendia and the arrival of Leon Bailey from Bayer Leverkusen mean Villa can finally banish the omnishambles of the reigns of Randy Lerner and Tony Xia, and build a team and squad to compete where they traditionally compete, which is in the top half of the top flight.
So if Grealish goes we must thank him for his contribution, wish him well and hope he gets to fulfil his immense potential at City.
He deserves his opportunity and needs to know what it’s like to compete against the very best.