Villa supporters are currently being made to watch a media feeding frenzy on Jack Grealish, as 20-odd ‘Grealish to Spurs’ stories a day are churned out with differing headlines. He’s staying, he’s going, he’s told his teammates he’s off, Chelsea are coming in to steal him from Spurs, blah, blah, blah.
Remember how the media sensationalised the ‘will Grealish play for England or Ireland’ story? At that time he’d hardly played any first team games for Villa, so who really gave a damn? Yet, it was still clickbait a go-go for weeks.
Like the principle of governments maintaining perpetual wars to financially gain from them, the media will keep stories warm to keep the clicks coming. This Grealish/Spurs story has rolled on for months now, yet the only fact that has been reported so far is there have actually been NO bids from Spurs.
Look at the Evening Standard article that has been the basis of many of yesterday’s articles on Grealish.
‘Tottenham believe they are close to agreeing a deal with Aston Villa for midfielder Jack Grealish.
Villa are likely to reject an opening bid of around £20million for the 21-year-old but Spurs are expected to reach an agreement with the cash-strapped Championship club before next week’s transfer deadline.’
Er…Spurs believe they are close to agreeing a deal…yet they haven’t even made the opening bid, that ‘Villa are likely to reject’.
This article contradicts itself from the off and is trying to predict the future rather than offer up anything concrete to its readers.
Grealish may well go to Spurs, but at the moment, the actual evidence for the move wouldn’t stand up in court.
So, what’s the reality and expectation?
Well, at the beginning of last week, despite the news of Villa’s fresh investment, if you spoke to anyone at the club, that’d tell you they expected Grealish to probably go. That feeling loosened a little though once the new owners actually visited the club and the EFL made favourable noises about Villa’s financial situation.
If you want other clues, look at what else has been happening to other players.
The fact that Villa let Liverpool’s Ben Woodburn slip was potentially a small clue. Liverpool normally have clauses when they loan their young players out stipulating a number of required games they need to play. It has been reasoned that’s why he eventually ended up at Sheffield United. Now if Grealish was definitely off, maybe Woodburn would have been more confident of getting good game time at Villa?
Also, watch out for the movements of Josh Onomah. He’s the man Villa bought in to cover Grealish’s injury last season. Now, Onomah and Grealish would be in direct competition at Spurs. If Onomah leaves Spurs first, then it maybe an alert to potential movement on Grealish. If Grealish isn’t going anywhere, then Spurs would more than likely keep him.
There’s the thinking Onomah maybe used as a make-weight loan to Villa in any Grealish deal, but since Spurs have invested in him already, wouldn’t they back him at the moment, instead of shelling out around £30m on another young player instead?
James Chester’s recent quotes have been used to push the agenda that Grealish is on his way out and that Villa fans shouldn’t begrudge him that, but the following quote by Chester hasn’t been given top billing:
“It would be sad to see him go and I don’t know if he will now that the ownership of the club has changed.”
As MOMS has concluded before, Grealish doesn’t have the kind of match winning stats in terms of goals and assists to give him serious proven ‘wow factor’ for a team with the current ambition of Spurs. It’s unlikely he’ll burst into their first XI at this stage and give them a boost in trying to win the Premier League or Champions League.
Spurs won’t be too desperate to enlist his services now and likewise, with new owner investment, Villa aren’t as desperate to sell him in this window.
The winter window in January, may provide Spurs with a better chance to squeeze Villa harder in terms of price, as it’s the last window the club can tackle their FFP situation in.
Also, if Villa aren’t challenging the top of the Championship at the end of this year, then Grealish himself may feel it’s time to move on.