Manchester United saw their perfect alternative to Jack Grealish in the Champions League – Tyrone Marshall


If Jack Grealish hadn’t scored the goal that kept his childhood club in the Premier League on the last day of the season, he might have already left Villa Park.By scoring against West Ham and saving Villa’s status as a top club, Grealish added millions to his own price. Villa would have been forced to close a sale if they returned to the Championship, now they can play hardball knowing they have another season of Premier League riches ahead.

This allowed Villa to slap an £ 80million prize on Grealish. All contenders will have to pay not only a Premier League bonus but also a UK bonus. National players are not cheap.

Grealish has had a great season, leading forward to keep Villa, and he’s clearly a good player, but he could find himself barred from a move in this market if that valuation isn’t lowered.

United have already found it difficult to secure a deal for an English talent at Jadon Sancho. With the club determined to deal with the results this summer, suing Grealish could also become financially impossible.

Under Ole Gunnar, Solskjaer United are determined to seek out local talent, but the reality is, it doesn’t come cheap. British players moving to Premier League clubs cost more, as United learned last summer when spending £ 125million on Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire.

It may therefore be prudent to consider an alternative to Grealish. While Houssem Aouar is not an identical player, there remains a creative option that can play the role of No.8 in midfield, perhaps alongside Bruno Fernandes in a more adventurous set-up, while the Frenchman would also strengthen the options in the team.

United love Grealish but given the form of Paul Pogba and Fernandes it is not immediately clear where he would play. Aouar would be cheaper and having only turned 22 in June, he would probably be happier to be a team player for now. He would also be an ideal replacement for Pogba if the World Cup winner were to move next summer.

Anyone who recently watched Lyon’s performances in the Champions League against Juventus, Manchester City and Bayern Munich will surely have been impressed by the midfielder. Pep Guardiola was certainly last season, when a dynamic young Lyon team won at the Etihad in September 2018.

“Houssem Aouar is a very good player. He’s amazing, ”said the City boss. “We talk a lot about (Tanguy) Ndombele, but Aouar is also excellent. He is always very calm with the ball on his feet, with excellent technical quality. ”

Guardiola knows what he is talking about when it comes to midfielders. Aouar may not be as creative as Grealish, but he remains an excellent dribbler, a player able to work his way out of tight positions in midfield and beat the press, which can be a valuable trait in a Premier League very focused on pressing at the top of the league.

It also appears to have a similar character to that of the Villa. He is already captain of Lyon and he raised his game in the second half against Bayern Munich on Wednesday night to try to bring his team back to the Champions League semi-final.

Aouar placed seventh for dribbling past former Ligue 1 players this season, a valuable asset for an advanced midfielder in modern play, while he also placed fourth for assists in the final third . In the previous two seasons he has finished eighth and ninth for cross balls, something fast ahead of United’s three will be ready to capitalize. In 2018/19 he was seventh for goal-creating actions in Ligue 1 and this season he was 10th. These are impressive numbers.

With Lyon out of Europe next season after being seventh, they will have to sell players this summer and there is an acceptance that Aouar is likely to leave. With Arsenal interested he could fetch around £ 50million, but that still makes him a much cheaper alternative to Grealish, if United are determined to sign another forward-thinking midfielder.


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