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One of the biggest names that has been floating around surrounding a big summer move has been boyhood Aston Villa fan and player, Jack Grealish. Following an extremely successful 2020/21 campaign, with Villa finishing 11th, captain Jack Grealish was the highlight of their season with outstanding personal stats in regards to facilitating chances to his team mates.
Its hard to imagine Grealish without the famous colours of claret blue, with him being at the club since he was six-years old. However, the englishman didn’t force his way out of Villa, as he showed true passion and loyalty towards his boyhood club. The terms were fair on his Villa contract extension which was a 5-year deal, with a £100m release clause. Only one demand was requested by Jack, being that the team must be a champions league calibre team, as they would most likely be the only teams able to pay such a high fee. It was not a suprise considering the season he had that Man City came knocking.
Is he really worth £100m or is this another case of English tax?
Over the years, there has been a tendecy to ‘overhype’ many English players, which has resulted in eye watering fees being paid for players that have turned out to be, well… pretty average. For example, Andy Carroll was signed for £35m back in 2011, which made him the most expensive English player of all time. Some other names to throw out there include Danny Drinkwater from Leicester to Chelsea for £35m. I think we all know how they have both turned out… this was the start of what fans may know as the ‘English tax’. More recently, Arsenal who are not having a great season signed Ben White who many fans have not heard much of, for £50m… English tax? Not all big money transfers involving English players have unsuccessful, as Raheem Sterling (£49) and Harry Maguire (£78m) have more than proved their worth with their respective clubs.
Pressure filled price tag
The £100m signing of Grealish made him the most expensive Englishman of all time, and the most expensive player in preimer league history. From an internation perspective, this makes him the 6th most expensive footballer in the history of the sport. Here is the list of footballers who rank above Grealish in terms of transfer fees, and he’s amonst the world’s best.
- Neymar-£198m from Barcelona to Paris Saint Germain. Picture source: Christian Hartmann/Reuters
2. Kylian Mbappe-£163m from Monaco to Paris Saint Germain. Picture source: AFP
3. Philippe Coutinho-£142m from Liverpool to Barcelona. Picture source: Getty
4. Joao Felix-£113m from Benfica to Athletico Madrid. Picture source: Getty
5. Antoine Griezmann- £107m from Athletico Madrid to Barcelona. Picture source: as.com
As you can see, Grealish is in good company, but can he live up to his price tag. We can’t ignore that he is extremely talented and creates a lot of chances for his team mates in an average Aston Villa team, which could see his numbers grow in the high quality Man City team. Does this make him worth 100m? Personally, I don’t think so. When you look at the likes of Neymar and Mbappe, the gap in numbers is clear. With Grealish contributing to 16 goals in 26 league games, Neymar had 15 in just 18 legue games, with Mbappe having 34 in 31 games across the 2020/21 campaign. There’s no denying that Jack’s numbers are good, but the elite players eclipe these numbers.
Will Pep’s system lift Grealish to within the elite?
Pep Guardiola is well known for his beatiful, silky, systematic style of football which has allowed him to be very successful wherever he has been. Once he gets the players he needs for his system, its a wrap. Furthermore, we have seen players take huge steps forward in their progression under Pep, with another Englishman being the perfect example; Raheem Sterling. Prior to Pep’s arrival, Sterling contributed towards 8 goals in 31 league games. Once Pep got hold a hold of Sterling, he has contributed to 121 goals in 164 games, improving his contributions per game ratio from 0.26 to 0.74… 3 times better.
Just being in a more talented side could give Grealish the freedom to flourish, with better players providing and being on the end of assists. He provides the ability to navigate out of tight paces and provides a great outler for players like Kevin De Bruyne. What makes Grealish unique and very useful to City in comparison to their current wingers, is his unpredictability. He can work on the outside and he can cut inside when running at opposing defenders, but more importantly, he can drop into the number 10 role to act as a more central creative playermaker, which can be a defenders nightmare.
Only time will tell
Putting the debate aside, only time will tell if Jack Grealish will live up to his price tag. He has had a good start to his league campaign, and will only improve as he learns the City way of playing. For the City and neutral fans out there, it will be very exciting times watching how this will turn out.
Vote below and drop a comment on your opinion in regards to whether you think Jack Grealish is worth £100m.
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