Jack Grealish: Manchester City favourites to sign Aston Villa star

Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish with his teammates

Manchester City have established themselves as the favourites to sign Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish this summer, according to the Daily Mail.

The 25-year-old has also been linked with a move to Manchester United, but it seems that City hold the edge in the race for his signature at the moment.

Price-tag and salary:

Grealish was valued at £100m by the Villans last summer, and that price-tag is likely to have increased after another stellar season in the Midlands for the forward. He was rewarded for this when he received his first international cap back in September.

The creative midfielder is currently Villa's highest earner, picking up £120,000-a-week, which is the same wage packet as City winger Riyad Mahrez.

Statistics:

In his first season back in the Premier League in 2019/20, Grealish registered 14 top-flight goal contributions. He has already surpassed that this time around, and is currently on 18 for the campaign.

Grealish has taken his game to another level this year, and has made 75 key passes in England's top division. This sees him clear of City's top performer in this category, Kevin De Bruyne, who has managed 70.

His dribbling numbers are also mightily impressive. He has completed 61 successful dribbles, once again putting himself ahead of any of City's current crop of players - Raheem Sterling has the most for Pep Guardiola's side with 57.

Expert opinion:

Grealish had to bide his time before figuring in Gareth Southgate's plans for England. However, he has produced excellent displays in his three appearances for the national team so far, and Southgate was full of praise after Grealish's performance against Belgium in November.

As reported by BBC Sport, Southgate said: "I thought Jack Grealish had an absolutely outstanding game.

"I saw what I knew I would see from Jack, someone with the bravery to play. He took the ball in tight areas, his technique was good, we knew he would buy a lot of free-kicks. I thought he was outstanding - he should be delighted."

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Verdict:

It is hard to imagine City getting any better given how far clear of the chasing pack they are this season. Yet bringing in Grealish could see them move even further away from their rivals.

Sterling and Phil Foden have enjoyed strong campaigns, but have been unable to match Grealish's number of goal involvements so far.

The Villa attacker seems to fit Guardiola's style perfectly as well. The Spanish coach wants to see his players express themselves on the pitch, and does not restrict them to staying in traditional positions. The way that Joao Cancelo's role has evolved this season is a clear example of this.

Grealish likes to wander in from the left wing so that he can become heavily involved in the action and make something happen. You'd imagine Guardiola would embrace that kind of approach, in turn allowing the England international to further flourish at the Etihad.

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