One of the big disappointments in terms of team selection this season for Aston Villa supporters has been the lack of opportunities to see potentially the three young exciting sparks of the squad – Adama Traore, Jack Grealish and Carles Gil – who have been relegated to being bit part players in a team seeking inspiration. Unfortunately, the team perhaps hasn’t been organised enough or physically strong enough to accommodate more than one of these players at any one time.
Aston Villa now appear destined for relegation and are priced at just 1/50 for the drop with 32Red. Before Remi Garde’s men’s win against Crystal Palace they had not won in the league since a 1-0 victory at Bournemouth on the opening day of the season and a dark cloud still looms above everyone at Villa Park.
It would be fair to say that almost every Villa fan is worried about the club’s current predicament but we should all start to look at the bigger picture. If Villa are relegated, what exactly is going to happen to the club’s young, exciting players?
Well, the likes of Jack Grealish, Carles Gil and Adama Traore, before he was ruled out for up to 10 weeks with a broken foot, are just three of the starlets who could either move on or struggle to cope with the Championship, if Villa suffer relegation this season. We take a look at each of these players individually and give our thoughts as to where they may end up at the end of the summer transfer window.
Turn the clocks back 12 months and Jack Grealish was labelled as one of the Premier League’s brightest young prospects. Unfortunately, it has been alleged that a ‘party’ lifestyle has got the better of him at times and he has been completely cast out by Garde. It would appear that, unless Grealish gets his mindset in the coming months, Grealish could even be destined for a move out of the club. There have been rumours of a loan move already, with Derby mooted as a possible destination.
It will be sad to see him leave but there’s no place here for somebody who is more focused on lifestyle than the pitch and improving the team’s fortunes. Perhaps this is a little harsh but the reality is that Grealish is still immature and there is no time to play babysitter, in such troubling times for the club.
On the other hand, opportunity knocks. David Platt used the second half of Villa’s season in the old Second Division to really announce his arrival at the club in 1987/88 and such a route could open up for Grealish. His previous on-loan experience with Notts County would stand him in good stead for the more physical demands of lower league competition and a sense of owing the club one may inspire him. It’s up to you Jack.
It could be argued that Carles Gil has been one of the better performers this season. Gil has incredible feet and possesses natural skill that is unrivalled in Villa’s ranks. One of the main problems with the Spaniard is his strength. Gil has been bullied at times and there are question marks as to his potential effectiveness in the Championship.
It would not be a huge surprise to see Gil move on but, then again, Villa will be keen to keep him if they drop into England’s second tier. He just needs players to be on his wave length, to potentially flourish playing in the Championship and will profit against average defenders.
Grealish would help, as would Jordan Vertout, if he sticks around.
As we stand, it seems unlikely that Gil would attract suitors from the Premier League, so he may be up for giving it a crack for a season in the Championship to help Villa bounce back to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
He’ll certainly give Rémi Garde that extra dimension that would be needed in the league, where not many teams boast such a player with his technique.
In all honesty, we haven’t seen too much of Adama Traore this season and we will see even less following his injury setback. But most will have been impressed with power and undoubted skill. While he may not be the ideal ‘team player’, he would perhaps get away with that short-coming more in the Championship.
Is he injury prone? It would explain why Barcelona were confident enough to let him leave (although they have a buy-back clause), despite his raw promise. He has provided moments of excitement throughout the season but must focus on becoming more aware of his surroundings.
Many believed that Traore could even leave the club as early as this month, however, that injury setback will probably prevent anybody from moving for the former Barcelona product in January. An eight to 10-week layoff could be detrimental to Villa’s faint hopes of survival, as his wild card nature would have given the team a potential spark, although he has been under-used in that respect before his injury.
You get a sense the club have regretted signing him so far and there are conspiracy theories that he’s not even injured. Time will tell how it pans out for him, but surely there is a player there that can help Villa either in a spectacular late survival bid or escape from the Championship.
At the moment, it’s surely worth keeping him and giving him a proper chance to prove himself and continue his development.