IAN LADYMAN: Cashing in on Grealish makes sense for Aston Villa

IAN LADYMAN: Cashing in on Jack Grealish makes perfect sense for Aston Villa – selling their captain to Manchester City gives Dean Smith £100million to spend on three players to boost his limited squad

  • Aston Villa are right to cash in on selling Jack Grealish to Manchester City
  • With £100million, Dean Smith can re-invest in his squad with three new players
  • Smith’s squad suffered when Grealish was injured – there isn’t enough depth
  • Taking the money could give Smith’s squad a deeper and more rounded look

Aston Villa do not wish Jack Grealish to go but they know he might. So with the help of their smart new sporting director Johan Lange they have planned for this all along.

If Manchester City make good their interest and pay the £100million required then manager Dean Smith will be given the money to spend. The idea is three players and that makes me wonder whether selling the crown jewels would be such a bad idea.

Look at it this way. When Grealish was injured for a chunk of last season, Villa’s performances suffered and Smith admitted they were not coping without him.

Aston Villa selling talisman Jack Grealish to rivals Manchester City makes perfect sense

With £100million from the sale, Villa boss Dean Smith (left) can invest in having a better squad

That suggests Villa’s squad isn’t good enough to maintain a top 10 Premier League challenge and needs strengthening. One way to do that is take the Grealish money and give Smith’s pool of players a slightly deeper and more rounded look.

Grealish, 25, is a super player. He is local and he is a crowd pleaser. He is the kind of footballer who makes people commit to season tickets. 

But he also has a long-standing shin condition that continues to bother him throughout the Euros so that should be considered too. In terms of City’s interest in Grealish, it hardened during last season.

Grealish was telling people in football of the new Premier League champions’ interest as long ago as late February yet as it stands today no official bid has been tabled. City cannot fund this and a move for Harry Kane without selling.

Grealish is a superb footballer, but he has a long-standing shin issue which must be considered

There is talk of a buy-out clause in Grealish’s contract. I have been told with certainty it exists yet Smith has denied it.

Whatever the case, Villa have an opportunity to make this situation work for them. No big club ever wants to sell their best player but Villa have the opportunity to stay ahead of the game on this one and £100m is a lot of money.

Losing Grealish does not have to represent a catastrophe. 

Levy puzzling over Potter pay

Tottenham’s interest in Nuno Espirito Santo comes after chairman Daniel Levy baulked at paying the compensation — thought to be north of £10million — it would take to even try to get Graham Potter out of Brighton.


Daniel Levy (left) gave up on Graham Potter (right) over a compensation payment to Brighton

Potter remains on the fringes of the conversation at Spurs but that’s not the point. This is not the first time a club have been put off pursuing a manager by the amount of money it would cost to get him and it makes absolutely no sense.

If Tottenham were prepared to pay £15m to buy Matt Doherty from Wolves last summer, why would they not invest similar in the most crucial appointment of their summer? 

Roberto Mancini is shrewd… even at Christmas 

Italy manager Roberto Mancini was loved by supporters at Manchester City and media were fond of him too.

A particularly warm memory is the day Mancini took writers out for Christmas lunch. A fine time was had and when Mancini left, he indicated he had left his credit card open behind the bar.

As the group thinned out and only three remained, a few more pizzas were ordered. Some wine. Italian desserts. Why not? Robbie’s paying.

Except he wasn’t. Not all of it anyway. Turned out Mancini had left instructions to put a cap on his generosity. He knew what was coming.

Manchester City supporters loved Roberto Mancini, and the media were quite fond of him too

Lovely guy, Mancini. But hard as nails. And certainly not stupid.

Our thoughts are with you, Garry

Garry Birtles told me in April he would swap all his medals and memories if only his wife Samantha would recover from cancer. Sadly, that deal was never on the table and Samantha, just 56, passed away last week. 

On Sunday, they played a charity match in her honour. Birtles is one of football’s best men and deserves all the love and care our great game has to offer.

Anyone wishing to help in another way can donate at @treetopshospice.




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