Claiming that there’s too much money in football is hardly a novel statement. We’re all aware of how much money footballers make, how rich club owners are, and how much cash is cycled between clubs as they transfer players.
I remember thinking that the £1 million fee paid for Trevor Francis was a sign that football had gone mad. The £35 million fee for Hernan Crespo made my head explode, and the £47 million payout for Zinedine Zidane shocked me to my core.
You can imagine, then, how I felt when Manchester United paid £80 million for the services of Harry Maguire in 2019. I thought, and still feel, that the fee was outrageous. Little did I know, that fee would be overtaken just two years later when Manchester City paid Aston Villa £100 million for their star player and talisman, Jack Grealish.
I must admit I was a fan of Grealish during his final years at Villa and was pleased to see him in the England squad at last summer’s European Championships. We’ve been crying out for a creative forward for years, and Grealish’s style of play provides the key to unlocking resolute defences.
It was always inevitable that Villa would sell the player due to his qualities and marketing capabilities. He’s the closest thing to David Beckham we’ve seen since his retirement. Grealish is popular with both men and women and is capable of winning a game all on his own.
That’s why it was no surprise to see Manchester City come calling last summer. Pep Guardiola lured away the similar Riyad Mahrez a few years ago and, despite a slow start, has turned the Algerian into one of City’s most important players. Much like Mahrez, Grealish had become too big a player for a mid table club and always seemed destined for greater things.
Fair To Say He Has Flopped
Though I scoffed at the transfer fee, I was excited to see what Grealish could do with City. He scored a few goals at the start of the season, but the Englishman’s overall form this season has been largely disappointing and I don’t think calling him a flop would be an overstatement whatsoever.
Grealish’s debut season has already seen him in trouble with Guardiola over discipline issues. In December, both him and fellow party-enthusiast Phil Foden were left out of a City squad after being pictured in a nightclub after a 7-0 victory of Leeds. Both players were forced to watch City’s win over Newcastle United from the bench.
You’d think, after becoming the most expensive British footballer of all time, that Grealish would want to set an example for his City teammates and prioritise being a model professional rather than a headband-wearing clubber. I was furious when I read the Daily Mail’s report of the pair’s boozy night out.
I think the incident sums up Grealish’s career at City so far. I’m sure he’s great for merchandising, but the 26-year-old has failed to cement a place in the club’s admittedly stacked squad. If his poor form continues, then he may well end up on those dreaded ‘worst Premier League signings of all time’ lists with Fernando Torres and Alexis Sanchez.
Grealish Needs To Buckle Down
There’s nothing to justify Jack Grealish being in the England squad for this year’s World Cup either. With Gareth Southgate claiming that he picks on form, surely Grealish (and others, including Marcus Rashford) will miss out. City are a brilliant team, perhaps the best the Premier League has ever seen, yet its most expensive player is one of the least important. City romped to the title last year without him and achieved a 100-point season four years ago without him, too.
Grealish still has time to turn his City career round, but he’ll achieve that by working hard on the training ground rather than dancing in a nightclub.
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