The moment of truth has finally arrived as news broke that Manchester City have formally tabled a £100m opening bid for Super Jack Grealish. Villa’s response so far has purportedly been to offer Jack £200,000 a week to stay. Reports say City will up that. Villa Twitter is melting down. What to make of it?

As I wrote last time out, this has clearly been the domino that sets all the others moving.

On the one hand, we have Jack signing a new deal last year, buying into Compass’s project and rejecting a move to United. On the other, we have Jack’s breakout at the Euros. And we hear about indecision on his part. Did the rotation lead him to believe he needs the move? Or did it convince him he wants to be the main man?

On the third hand, we’ve got Wes Edens’ Milwaukee Bucks winning an NBA championship after getting their franchise player signed up to a league-record contract, and likely selling the Villa project, with Jack, to targets.

On the fourth hand, we’ve got instant silverware for Grealish pretty much guaranteed at The Etihad. And why haven’t the club spoken out more forcefully? Why wasn’t Jack in the away kit launch?

On the fifth hand (behave), we hear Jack won’t force a move.

As you can see, we’re running out of hands. And most everything that can be said has been said.

So, nervy times, indeed. While the brave will correctly say the club are bigger than any one player, there’ve been very few players of Grealish’s stature and background for Aston Villa in the last half-century. At the moment, he IS Aston Villa. Any way you slice it, £100m doesn’t add up to what he’s worth to the club. And if he’s worth that and more to City, then you have to ask where do you get that instant, like-for-like replacement?

Is it Buendia? Cantwell? Ward-Prowse? Naturally, hard to say. We hear that Villa have had two transfer plans in place.

Unless serious talks have occurred and plans have been made accordingly, leaving at this stage of the window would certainly set Villa back, both in terms of the current squad and in terms of the next incomings. I don’t think Jack would want to be responsible for that. And clubs will be holding out for a king’s ransom on any players we now pursue. Prying Cantwell or Ward-Prowse loose at this point is going to be very difficult business.

Even though silence makes me nervous, I’m going to go out on a limb and continue to say that when push comes to shove, Grealish will stay. I just don’t think Compass want to sell their most valuable asset, nor will they be interested in the signal it sends. The club may well be silent at the moment because a) they always are, and b) the new contract announcement would be statement enough.

But, everything and everyone has a price. If Jack truly won’t force a move, he only goes because Edens and Sawiris have done the cost-benefit analysis and believe the deal moves the club forward in the long term and are grateful he stayed to get the club to this point.

Now we wait. Some more.

Over to you.

Comments 71

  1. JC, well this is the first time that I’ve felt that he may actually go. The moves in the staff shop certainly do look odd otherwise. Having said that, the moves in the staff shop feel strange full stop! If we are actually in negotiations with City then surely we wouldn’t even risk giving hints that we thought he was off?

    Of course it’s all possible that the negotiations have already been completed and decisions have already been made and everyone’s just waiting for the results of the medical.

    If he does go, of course we’ll all be really upset about it and worry where the club will go from there. I’m not going to pretend that it can be a good thing, but it may not be as bad as we’ll all fear. Towards the end of last season, and before Jack had returned, the team were playing better and starting to properly compete again. Add some more quality to the team we had then and you’d hope that we could at least still be a top half of the
    table team. In other words, we may be set back a season or so but our owners don’t strike me as the types to easily throw in the towel. Their pockets will still be deep and with enduring ambition and support from the fans, the club will continue to progress . . . . probably just a little more slowly than we would have done if Jack stays

  2. My main gripe is the late timing with the season kicking off in a couple of weeks. Not the players fault, or the clubs fault as last season finished late and the Euros pretty much started immediately. Losing your captain and talisman just before a new season only does us harm. For this reason alone, Guardiola and Citeh can do one. It is disrespectful to just shit on others in the EPL but then again, they have form as one of the greedy bastards.

    The whole shebang also demonstrates everything that is wrong in football. The elite stay elite and everyone else remains paupers by comparison. Only by using salary caps and methods employed by the NHL, can the prizes be shared around to the real benefit of all teams. The EPL set up stinks.

  3. Jack and the kit launch, couldn’t be that he has been away for the best part of two months now could it? I will believe it when I hear he’s gone. At this rate by the time he does go he will be on £500k a week.

  4. On the replacement front? no chance I’d say, who is there? that said that’s possibly three quality recruits for the increasingly injury prone Jack. Be a shame but if its to happen get it over with,

  5. Letting jack go now 2 weeks before the season would be insane. Will have to over spend replacing him too. No way can nswe sanction it.

    All the hard work and positivity would be undone and once again a selling club.

  6. I’d want more then 100 mill too. Ben White 50?! We want prowse but would cost 40 mill. This is going to be a fucking disaster.

    By all means go next season but now will leave us fucked.

  7. If he stays or goes? Will you stop watching Villa? Plenty of top quality players on board and if he does go, just perhaps the extra minutes afforded someone else will be the start of the next can’t sell player.
    It all comes down to $$$ and ambition can be tempered with money. The fans want success instantly. NSEW might have a different time table. After all they are one year ahead of schedule.
    It will be too bad if he leave but, really, so what there’s plenty more on the table to watch.

  8. H&V It is massive for the club (shirts, exposure, future) and massive for Jack. I must admit its not the end I thought we would see for Jack if it happens, literally in his time at the club in the 1st team this is the best its been , with more to come, seems odd that.

    On the other hand he would likely be sacrificing his career to put Villa in the picture unless things happen rapidly for us, its a tough call. And he will get better if not injured.

  9. Ian I kind of agree, but there’s a but, he is a one off as a player, like a Messi potentially and those don’t come along often, and shirt sales alone for City would quickly pay for him. We may never have another, we haven’t before to be fair to my Knowledge in the modern era. I will however miss seeing him play, he’s so often the difference and the best player on the pitch.

  10. r0bb0,

    Yeah, saw that club shop thing and was like…? You’d think they’d just let people take their chances on Grealish coming or going with their printing. I tend to buy the training range, myself. At this age, feel a bit silly walking around with a tight shirt on, even if it does say Grealish.

    Me, I think it’s just one more season needed. Stay, boost recruitment, get the new lot bedded in and hopefully into Europe, then he can really say, “Job done.”

    But, to Ian’s earlier point about the shin issue, etc., it could be that if Compass do end up selling, there’s a little something else behind it. Don’t know that he’ll ever be worth more, don’t know that anyone will ever be in line to offer more.

  11. Plug,

    It is the timing, yes. Our most talked-about “replacement” targets, like Cantwell or Ward-Prowse, they’d be putting their clubs in the same spot. So, you’d really have to think if this is a done deal, that Buendia was brought in so quickly for this very scenario, and then they’d fill in after.

    But there’s not much wiggle room left, season’s about to start, and if Bailey, etc., is waiting to see about Jack, well…

  12. H&V,

    Villa are pretty tight-lipped. Man City aren’t talking themselves, it’s the agent blabbing again.

    You never know, we could be having Jack sign and announcing Bailey come Monday or Tuesday. And circling City home and away on the fixture list.

  13. MK,

    He is a one-off player. And keeping hold really would be a statement. Someone has to draw the line with City at some point.

    There’s other ways to win, obviously, but like you say, I just adore watching him play and doing it in claret and blue.

  14. MUFC have a history of selling the best: Ronaldo, Beckham, Lukaku, etc. And they don’t seem to have suffered too much. It’s a game of poker. I’m sure Villa will have made the best deal with Grealish whether he stays or goes. Remember they are in the driver’s seat with a 4 year contract backing them up, well heeled, don’t need the money. If he goes he’ll be back in 10 to finish off his career.

  15. I know other clubs have sold but there already elite and made it. Even foxes had won the prem and got well established.

    We all agree at this time under nswe it’s been the best it’s been and a real sense of ambition and jacks going to fuck off and leave us. He’s proper dead to me if he goes. If we were crap and going down fair enough.

  16. Apparently 100 mill accepted. That’s shit! Have to push them to 125 at least. He is our everything. Image, publicity, attracting other players, making other players stay. God knows what Watkins etc think. And more importantly how we play and making us win games. Remember when jack don’t play we don’t win. This really is an absolute fucking disaster.

  17. Nswe have been the best of the best so far. Hands down. But accepting 100 mill straight away for our hero 2 weeks before the season it’s fucking crazy. I don’t understand why we aren’t saying do one not for sale. Apparently no buy out clause. We don’t need money apparently and jack won’t kick up a stink to leave. I don’t get it

  18. JC, well another potential answer to the “why have they removed Jack from the shop merchandise” question could be that it’s sending a message to Jack and his agent that Villa are planning for a life after Jack and can only be pushed so far in his contract negotiations.

    No. . . .I don’t believe that’s the real reason. . . . .but it is a ‘just about possible’ reason.

  19. I have said in these blogs before, Jack will go. NSWE is a business first and foremost and 100 million pounds is a lot of money for one player. I have just watched the Bristol City friendly and Bidace looks a frightening prospect. He plays in the same position as Jack and i think he should be given a chance.
    I am not worried if Jack goes, he could come back to finish his career here. The money is good and it gives our team a chance to be shaped up without over relying on one player. Chukwuemeka is also here and we could still sign Bailey. Jack is a good player but no tears from me if he goes. It’s his chance to win trophies he will never win at Villa.

  20. Here we go. The Bailey bid has been accepted according to the Official Site. We have to move on guys. Plus, we have to note that Grealish is quite injury prone. When is the last time he had a complete season, like play 35 or so league games? The deal is simply too good to turn down.
    Football these days is getting more data driven than ever and i trust our analytic team to find sound replacements.

  21. We go again. I’m getting past the anger stage in my grieving.

    Like you say jack, grealishs shins are broke. I didn’t think he looked fit for eng. and also we are ultra reliant on him. Dangerously so. Like zaha and palace.

    It’s all about the recruitment. Bailey is done. Superb signing. Get Sarr, cantwell, prowse could be a better team.

  22. JackVilla, prox.

    Yeah, as I’ve said, there are several possible scenarios, and we have to give Jack the benefit of the doubt. He’s a good lad.

    There could well be an understanding in place after last year’s extension similar to what I might hope would happen now: You stay another year and you can go with our blessing if the right offer comes in.

    But it is business, and Compass will be looking at Jack’s total value as an asset: He’s probably worth as much right now as he’ll ever be (at Villa, anyway); Villa aren’t in direct competition with City (yet); They may indeed have concerns over his injury history. Hell, it might figure into Jack’s thinking, as well, that not having to play a full 90 every game would be a plus.

    £100m = 3 £30m+ players. For the right money you can make the team significantly better, and we are talking a record fee.

    As the story keeps going round and round (dear god, Villa Twitter), the one thing I like seeing here and elsewhere is the belief in Edens’ and Sawiris’ stewardship.

    Getting the Bailey deal largely over the line is a good sign, and in retrospect, it may well have been the case the Buendia deal was done so early as he’s the replacement, and Young was snapped up to keep that Villa connection and steady the dressing room with his experience.

    Many were saying that was the case, but given that I still read there’s indecision in Jack’s camp, I’m guessing it was an either/or.

  23. H&V,

    It really is like going through the stages. And while I’d very much like Jack to stay and still think there’s a possibility (my reading of it keeps changing every five minutes, tbh), I do trust NSWE. They’re smart.

  24. r0bb0,

    It could well be a bit of a message to Jack if not the fans. I’m imagining there’s goodwill on both sides, though. Jack has done a lot for the club, staying in the Championship, staying last year.

    And if I’m wrong and he does go, then I really do hope he wins things and shines doing it. Will be a bit galling to see him in a City shirt, but I like to think we’ll end up having the last laugh over them sooner or later.

  25. I’ve read that City haven’t even put an offer in for Jack yet. I’ve also read that he should move to Man City because he likes curries and he’ll get the best ones up there . . . . . you really can’t believe anything you read at the moment can you??

  26. r0bb0,

    The amount of traffic generated by this has been immense. And yeah, saw that a “formal bid” has not yet been made all the way to him having a medical Monday.

    Just like I read we’d already agreed personal terms with Bailey last week. Then we hear Leverkeusen has accepted and personal terms yet to be agreed.

    So, no. Can’t really believe anything. Romano and Percy shoot as straight as they can. I think Ash Preece does also.

  27. Bailey is a done deal and that is massive, hearing cities finances are well dodgy and I still think Jack will be torn by the fact its his club and that we are looking very ambitious, would you want to miss out for a medal in a team that can compete by turning out the reserves? Either way we move on but I would making this the last time Jack highjacks the headlines in the summer for us, enoughs enough.

  28. I think everyone is fed up with the Jack rumors. Hopefully he puts the record straight on Monday when he’s back.

    I don’t want to accept £100m. I hope he gives us one more year. We can still get £100m next year. With our new attacking options and Bidace coming through, surely he can give us one more year and play with our top 4 talent.

  29. I’ve just read a headline that Kane wants to join Jack Grealish. Personally, I think that if we have £160m to spend, we shouldn’t blow it all on a 28 year old striker.

  30. Young looks a bargain and he could be a real starter, odd thing to say with Targett so solid last season but.

    Still we beat Bristol comfortably without, Mings , Martinez, Beundia, Luis, Targett, Traore, Sanson, Wesley, Davis, Hourihane and dare I say it jack. Its been a very weird pre-season but this may end up the team we start with, outside bet I know but a very real possibility.

  31. Is Frem on sabbatical? thought he would be pulling his plums over Bailey, Can’t wait to see how quick he actually is.

    “Ajax’s former youth coach Ronald de Boer once said of Bailey: “He’s so fast it’s not normal. His speed, combined with his technique, is very rare. Exceptional. He has no weak points.”

  32. Jacks choice put succinctly by Klopp.

    When Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho was being hunted by Barcelona, Jurgen Klopp chose his words carefully.

    “Stay here and they will end up building a statue in your honour,” he said.

    “Go somewhere else, to Barcelona, to Bayern Munich, to Real Madrid, and you will be just another player. Here you can be something more.”

    Is Steven Gerrard any less a legend for not going to Chelski? Villa will win cups and fairly soon imo.

  33. Thanks for the link Mark. . . .Mr Bailey certainly has teckers!
    He reminds me a bit of Bertrand: loves to play with the ball, will bring excitement, but will run into the occasional dead end and frustrate a little.
    He also seems to draw a lot of fouls because of his close play ability. . . . . .where have we seen that before?
    He has a high rating for set pieces, so will he be the one to step up for those (assuming we don’t manage to prise JWP away from Southampton?)

  34. Latest appears to be £90million plus Rogers, who was on loan to Lincoln City, making him a bargain at £10million.
    I had hoped Jack would stay, but it was only ever hope, as I believed that this would be the season that he moved on to solidify and enhance his career, which is exactly what he deserves, as did MIlner, Barry and Young before him.
    I am with Jackvilla, and excited by our youngsters on the brink, like Jaden Philogene-Bidace. Buendia, Young and Bailey are all going to enhance our team, and we are not finished there.
    The potential now is huge for Villa, and we have only been using half of our players.
    One player I would have loved to see us sign as a goalkeeper, is Sam Johnstone, a bargain at around £10 million. Jed Steer has been a good servant, but is not in the same class as Sam.
    He would make perfect sense as back up to Emi Martinez.
    I am sure the change in the reliance on Jack will make a difference to other players, and also make it more difficult for the opposition to handle a more multi-talented team.
    I am sure that by Friday, we will all know exactly what Villa’s future looks like.

  35. PP,

    Yeah, I think the team is shaping up nicely overall. There are some genuine talents, and good business being done.

    Social is mental, atm. Video of Jack training in London, is he just reporting as usual? Would he be out there if deal was done and dusted awaiting medical tomorrow?

    I’ve not been losing sleep, but it is a very interesting little puzzle everyone’s trying to figure out.

  36. On the others who’ve left (Barry et al), remember this is a very different Villa. We can match the wages, and the ambition and nous to get somewhere is real.

    The only thing I think that appeals to a player in Grealish’s situation (potential world-class talent just coming into his prime) is instant CL, probably a final, being on that stage against Barca, Bayern, PSG, etc. Puts him into the world-class conversation outside UK.

    Maybe there’s an England boost, but I don’t think his situation there atm is anything than other Gareth, his system, etc.

    I don’t think it’s about the league or FA Cup, “silverware and medals,” etc. They’ll win those without him.

  37. MK,

    That’s exactly the choice he faces, and weighing that against CL glory while he’s coming into his prime is probably the only reason he seems (based on the crap we’re being fed) to be of two minds.

  38. Also think the Bailey deal is interesting. For one, I’m quite excited, looks a dangerous player.

    But, in the context of whether Jack is staying, excellent business if there really is uncertainty.

    People will say these are being pushed through to convince Jack, but the incoming has to agree, as well.

  39. JC- One other aspect that Jack may be pondering is what he can learn from Pep, no disrespect for Dean who claims Jack pushes him to improve him but pep has the rep of improving top players. Since Jack had the kidney injury he has looked hungry to make the best of what he has. Pep would offer more at this moment vs the glory of his home club eventually. He might even see the money it would bring as a gift toward that aim.

    Anyway it looks like the owners are flying in for talks with him and he’s back in training.

  40. MK,

    It is possible, the Pep angle, and Jack definitely wants to realize his potential. No idea how long Pep will stay there.

    I can certainly see Jack thinking a record-breaking fee is not a bad contribution back to the club. And I don’t think there is or will be any bad will at Villa Park if he goes. Sounds like Compass are letting him make his own mind up, but will do their best to convince him.

  41. Yep JC, the owners need to be here to meet with their captain and prized asset. £100 million is more than they paid for the club. It’s not a sum to be sniffed at, but they need to hear from Jack himself whilst looking him in the eye, and he needs to be looking at their eyes in the same way with his comments.

    On the outside, we can’t guess how the meeting will pan out, but as PP says, by the end of the week we should know more. One thing is certain, Compass will not be swerved from their plans for breaking into the top end. It is definitely going to happen. And we ain’t going to forget the train wreckage they bought into.

    Whatever happens, it will be win win for us. Just look at Spurs under Levy….short arms and long pockets. ‘Arry has got the fight of his life to break free from him.

  42. Jack Grealish leaving will not be the end of the Villa climb by a long shot, whether he will slow that progress or speed it up either way is debatable, what isn’t replicable is his marketability at this moment, that the club needs very much as much as his on pitch skills.

  43. I have said it before and will say it again pep is a cheque book manager if he fails to take Jack and Kane he won’t win champs lge with his false 9 boll-ks out foxed in the big final by himself

    he won champs lge with a team of a generation went to Munich and couldn’t win it with another

    the grass isn’t often greener on the other side but Jack has been nothing but class in every situation for his club even when he almost joined spurs and I suspect Iwillhave the same

  44. Runtings- agree on pepe, great one on one coach though, not many fail to improve under him, can’t win them all. Wish he’s retire and start a summer camp instead.

  45. You can just about watch this going down live on Twitter. “Jack tense this morning, Jack relaxed back out this afternoon.” Then video of him and Lange walking off and talking one on one away from everyone. White van pulls up and blocks the view.

    It’s driving people mad.

  46. Just getting off the Jack thing for a minute , but have any of you who’s seen Konsa playing live think he ‘s got DM ability in his locker? Or for that matter, how about Ashley Young?

  47. Well it’s driven me mad John. So many false stories and BS flying about. The media tabloids are feasting on it but it just turns me off. Can’t be arsed until I see the official web site make a statement on the subject.

  48. It would be smashing to have his height in the middle. He seems mobile enough too. Wor Jack played McGrath in that position for ROI for years and it was very successful even with two shot knees.

  49. Prox my 1st reaction is we only have 3 senior CB’s so buy a DM and we also need that DM to be able to start attacks. could he play there? yes I think he could defensively.

    Davis was off to Stoke on loan and now he ain’t another injury for two months.

  50. An American journo thats close to Edens and gets all the basketball goings on right says jacks staying. Also sky bet have Grealish favourite to stay at Villa at 4/6 with City at 11/10.

  51. What the fuck is wrong with people? apparently Jacks girlfriend was receiving up to 200 death threats a day during the Euro’s ??? bad enough with the odd racist, these are apparently 13-14 year old girls wishing she would die along with her family etc, honest to god bring the fucking curtain down, where’s that huge asteroid when you need one.

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