Is Grealish a top level talent?
Jack Grealish is Aston Villa's captain, leader & star attraction, as we have seen from the large hole he has left having missed his side's last six league games. Having a player like this is always big for clubs looking to re-establish themselves in the Premier League but it is also a burden knowing that he will consistently be linked with a move away. Grealish is a lifelong Villa fan and joined the club's academy when he was just six years old, Villa always believe he will produce for them in crucial moments but could he produce when he is expected to do it?
Grealish was heavily linked with a move away from Villa after they narrowly avoided relegation in their first since back in the Premier League but the club and Jack did their best to quell rumours by agreeing terms on a new five year contract in September. Since then Grealish & Villa have kicked on, now challenging for European places in the 2020/21 season after spending the majority of last season in & out of the relegation zone.
After three seasons in the Championship, Grealish was ready to make a name for himself at the top level, providing 8 goals and 5 assists while also setting a new Premier League record as he finished the season having being fouled 167 times across the 36 games he played. This showed how the opposition viewed Villa, if you could stop Jack, you nullified Villa and while this did work more often than not it showed the immense talent that Grealish was. Question marks were still hanging over Grealish despite media and fans alike swooning over the next great English star.
It was a solid first season in the Premier League but now it was seeing if he could kick on again in 2021 and he has done just that, in the 22 games he has played so far this season he has racked up 6 goals & 10 assists while still being targeted by opposing players, having been fouled 100 times (36 more than any other player). The stats speak for themselves but the biggest plus for Grealish and Villa is that his goals and assists are now contributing to wins, having already surpassed their point & win totals from last season.
State of Villa without Grealish:
Villa have been without their captain for the past six Premier League games and his absence has been felt on the pitch. Since Grealish last took to the field on February 13th, Villa have managed just one win, drawing twice and suffering three defeats, scoring just three times. Any club would feel the absence of a player of Grealish's quality but this may be a sign for the 25 year old that his ceiling may be much higher than his boyhood club.
After signing the extension to keep him at Villa until 2025 you would think Grealish was happy to spend his best years at Villa but if he truly wishes to challenge himself he needs to move on. The likely-hood is that Villa agreed the deal with Grealish to make sure they would be well compensated if he were to leave, a move to a fellow English club would now likely cost a minimum of £100 million and he must convince some of the Premier League's big hitters that he's worth it.
There have been many examples of successes & failures over the years when the star of a mid table team makes the step up to challenging for league titles and playing in the Champions League but if Grealish is truly the superstar that most seem to think he is then he should come out on the right side of history.
Grealish will turn 26 at the beginning of next season, his best years should still be ahead of him and while he will command a large transfer fee, his play on the pitch should be enough to convince clubs to make the move. At this moment he is not even a guarantee to make the England squad but most would still say he's one of the best players in the Premier League.
Maybe Jack wants to play his prime years with the club he has supported all his life but if he wants to finish his career with no regrets then he needs to prove he can produce when expected to.