It seems increasingly inevitable that the long-term future of Grealish lies far from Villa Park. Such an exit could be concluded as early as this summer, with near certainty if the team of Dean Smith does not manage to avoid the withdrawal in the championship.
Manchester United is a possible destination for the creative midfielder – the Reds will continue to carefully pursue their long-term goals this summer and Grealish fits the profile. A young local footballer who would immediately increase the team’s potential and add creativity to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Here are three key moments to date from this campaign that have demonstrated why the player is destined for a big transfer.
Grealish the chef
It was the most obvious miscarriage in the Premier League of Justice this season. After six minutes of overtime at Selhurst Park, Aston Villa was pushing desperately for an equalizer. Jordan Ayew’s 73rd-minute goal seemed decisive after a red card for the visitor’s Trezequet.
Cue Grealish takes center stage, as he has done so often this season. Picking up the ball on the halfway line, he sprinted into the opponent’s half – playing a one-on-two with substitute Conor Hourihane and continued to leap forward. Crossing four players from Villa, Grealish reached the edge of the penalty area before being thrown off balance by Wilfried Zaha.
Despite losing his footing and falling to the side for the offense, the Villa star managed to maintain his balance and find an unmarked Henri Lansbury who dismounted for equalization. Grealish ran into Gary Cahill as he fell to the ground, but jumped right away to join the happy celebrations.
However, it was referee Kevin Friend who had the final say – furiously judging that Grealish had plunged – a judgment not supported by television reruns – and was then punished.
Grealish the supplier
Despite the injustice in south London, Grealish provided another memorable help in the capital in October with another superb individual play piece against Arsenal. As the match approached the hour and prepared for 1-1, the playmaker grabbed the back of the neck once again.
Picking up the ball just inside the opponent’s half, Grealish ran. And ran. And ran. Past Callum Chambers. Past Granite Xhaka. Past Mateo Guendouzi. And finally, past Sokratis Papastathopoulos. After surpassing the bulky Greek, Grealish cut the call to Wesley to produce a calm finish under the challenge of David Luiz.
The goal was all about Grealish. No player has seriously attempted a tackle, partly because of their own fragile configuration, but also because they knew that the Villa star could easily change direction with both their body and the ball.
Villa again lost the match – 3-2.
Grealish the goal scorer
Just like Grealish had taken like a duck to water on the main stage of the Emirates, two months later, it produced another magical moment. This time he was directly in front of the faithful united in another tour de force, showing that he was a class above many others on the ground not only on the side of the Villa, but also for the hosts.
Grealish recovered the ball on the left side of the area, finding space as the tenacious Aaron Wan Bissaka drifted through the middle of the field to cover the threat of attack. Only Andreas Pereira could return to United. Feeling the defensive weakness, Grealish felt his moment. He showed Andreas in the sidelines before going back inside on his right side and in a seemingly impossible, drawing a shot on goal. In everyone’s disbelief, he flew into the upper corner. A real postage stamp finish.
Stop the action when Grealish is moving to shoot and the magnitude of the finish becomes really clear. Taking a sharp turn immediately in front of Andreas’ outstretched foot and an inch behind Wan Bissaka’s head, the shot was unstoppable for the perfectly positioned David de Gea. It was a remarkable attempt that few would have even dared to attempt, let alone speak. It was the moment when it became undeniable that it was the stage of Grealish.