In what is arguably the greatest week in their modern history, Manchester City is already taking a beating.
Not in relation to Saturday’s Champions League final against Chelsea in Porto, but in the run-up to a defense of the Premier League title that is already being set off.
That’s how it works at a very large football club. End a successful season and immediately find a way to get even better. Strengthen yourself when you are strong.
For years it worked for the big beast in red on the other side of Manchester and now it’s grafted into the City DNA too.
Jack Grealish is now firmly in Man City’s crosshairs and ready for a massive summer move
Does Pep Guardiola’s team of such shimmery jewels really need another diamond to put in the center of the cluster?
Does a team of already creative players like Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva, Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez really need Jack Grealish?
The short answer is ‘no’. It is not so. But the longer answer is that every team on the planet needs to find ways to get better, to add more depth, to recruit an even wider range of talent.
As soon as Pep Guardiola had lifted the league title, he was already thinking about new acquisitions
If you don’t improve in sports, you stand still. Here’s what happened when City had a disappointing summer spell after winning the Premier League in 2019. As a result, Liverpool flew right past them the following season.
In the summer of 2021 it seems to be going to change. City plans to strike a £ 100 million deal for Aston Villa’s Grealish, while continuing their interest in two of European football’s best strikers, Erling Haaland and Harry Kane.
For City, it promises to be another summer of mining from the richest parts of the continental game. For Grealish, it is time to take his exceptional talent to a place where it can grow and thrive. Only 25 years old, Grealish seems to have been around for years. But in the past eight months, midfielder football has moved to another level.
Recently, Villa manager Dean Smith told a friend that Villa simply had not been the same team during a recent injury absence and the numbers confirm that.
Likewise, Smith said the player’s fame in and around Birmingham was now so high that he could not move around his hometown undisturbed.
Perhaps a good time for Grealish to take the next step in his career and in his life.
Grealish is now dazzling for club and country and the perfect age for a stepping stone
As a footballer, he has gone to international matches seemingly effortlessly. He will undoubtedly get minutes for England at this summer’s European Championship. Off the field, the step would bring its own challenges.
Last summer there was a much publicized Covid lockdown violation, while also having driving violations on his resume
If he thinks the lights are shining brightly in Birmingham, he’ll find they dazzle even more intensely in the northwest. But those who know and work with Grealish speak of a dedicated and dedicated football player who is hungry for work and improvement.
It had been three months since word of City’s interest in him first surfaced. Grealish himself has been aware of this for a while.
At the time, there was evidence from the Etihad that one of the club’s plethora of offensive players would likely have to move on if space was to be made in Guardiola’s squad. That can still happen. For instance, Tottenham has been known to have a list of City players in mind they would consider as part of a deal for Kane.
But those are just the details of what a seismic English transfer would be, one that would hint at the strength of the talent factory now moving forward for the domestic academy system, one that would serve as a marker for all homegrown players who will enter a pathway. always there for you when you are really good enough.
The fact is, City has the strength and know-how to make this deal happen anyway.
Signing Grealish would be a huge declaration of intent for City, who knows that their rivals will soon be competing again for the most important silverware in English football if they stand still in the market.
A direct cash deal may suit Villa best. The Midlands club – vastly improved under Smith – has no point in selling their captain, and no financial need either. Likewise, a transfer fee of around £ 100 million could go a long way towards making Villa better, especially if they spent their money as well as they did last summer.
Forward Ollie Watkins was an excellent addition to Brentford at the start of this season and could also be on Gareth Southgate’s final squad for the European Championship.
However, this is a story about City and an unquenchable thirst to become the very best team there is. The Guardiola team faces a major challenge from Chelsea on Saturday evening in Porto.
Next season it is likely that Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool will be in their face again.
Signing a player of Grealish’s quality would certainly be a mark-in-the-sand moment.
Spending £ 100 million on a player because you really need him is one thing. If you do, even though it will only improve you through fractures, you will mark yourself as a very different kind of football club.
Manchester City is now that kind of organization. It’s impossible not to be impressed by that.