Manchester City are looking to bolster their attacking options this summer by adding Aston Villa skipper Jack Grealish to their ranks.
Talks have been held over a prospective £100m move that would see Grealish become the most expensive British player in history, overtaking the £85m that Real Madrid paid for Gareth Bale in the summer of 2013.
The proposed deal would also see the current Premier League champions smash their own transfer record and add one of the country’s most popular and creative players to a squad already brimming with quality in attacking positions.
That naturally means that players already plying their trade at the Etihad Stadium would need to give up some minutes to accommodate Grealish.
Here are the winners and losers if the protracted deal were to actually materialise.
Jack Grealish:The obvious big winner in the whole deal would be the player himself.
At 25 years old, Grealish has achieved every child’s dream, playing and captaining his boyhood club to promotion to the Premier League before scoring the goal that essentially kept them up. He was then terrific last season as Villa pushed for a Europa League place until his injury cut that short.
He is clearly too good for Villa’s current level and as one of the best playmakers in the league he should be playing for a leading team.
A move would mean Grealish got to play alongside his favourite player in Kevin De Bruyne, in a team that dominates possession and is likely to be challenging on all fronts.
Pep Guardiola:TheCityboss has spoken publicly about how much he rates Grealish as a footballer and would surely love to get the chance to coach him too.
Guardiola values players with great ball retention and technical qualities and the England man is among the best in the country when it comes to those situations.
Emiliano Buendia:The Aston Villa man was signed from Norwich this summer in a move that many thought was to help ease the burden of creativity, but it seems now that he may have been a replacement the whole time.
The Argentine excelled as Daniel Farke’s main creator and without the shadow of Grealish looming over him he may be able to express himself that bit more and show his true quality.
He plays on the opposite side so it may take some adaptation, but by receiving the ball more he would have the opportunity to really make a name for himself in his debut season at Villa Park.
Kevin De Bruyne: The Belgian playmaker has established himself as the best creative force in the Premier League if not the world over the last five seasons ,but injuries are starting to catch up to him as he enters his thirties.
De Bruyne missed several months of the last two campaigns and picked up another injury during Euro 2020, so taking some of the creative burden off him by bringing in such a capable alternative as Grealish could be a savvy move.
Villa’s captain is capable of playing out wide or centrally so could slot in perfectly.
Aston Villa: Much like Grealish is the obvious winner in the deal, Villa are the obvious losers.
Despite earning themselves a nine-figure sum for their best player, replacing him could prove impossible. He is an inspiration to many players coming through the academy and the city of Birmingham as a whole, but the players he plays alongside also know they can trust him to dig them out of a hole.
Villa won just three of their 12 games without him last season, and it could be a difficult transition getting used to life without their talisman.
Riyad Mahrez: It’s highly unlikely that City would sanction a huge £100m outlay on a player in the summer transfer window without the intention of using him regularly.
That means that Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden, Ferran Torres, Riyad Mahrez and Bernardo Silva (more on him later) would face even more competition in an already hugely competitive area of the pitch.
While Mahrez was a regular last season, he’s also the oldest of the bunch and contrary to his younger colleagues, his resale value is only going to head in one direction. Might it therefore be sensible for City to cash in now?
Bernardo Silva: The Portuguese attacker has often found game time by being capable of playing on the wing and centrally, but that versatility is no advantage over the equally malleable Grealish.
Bernardo is reportedly looking to leave the club anyway, with Barcelona among the interested parties, but City aren’t willing to let him go easily.
With four years still to run on his contract, it won’t be easy to prize him out of the Etihad without stumping up the cash that City want and that could potentially see him left on the sidelines with limited game time.
The rest of the Premier League: City won the league with ease last season, finishing 12 points clear of their nearest rivals and making it to the Champions League final. They also won the Carabao Cup and made the FA Cup semi-finals along the way.
Adding one of the best players in the league to their squad just spells bad news for anyone that was hoping to close the gap on them this summer in the transfer market.
Who do you think are the winners and losers of the Jack Grealish to Manchester City transfer? Let us know in the comments below.