Aston Villa eye Championship star as potential Jack Grealish successor - The Verdict

  • Tom Kelly
Norwich City's Todd Cantwell celebrating his goal against Huddersfield Town

Norwich City are reportedly braced for interest from Aston Villa in star midfielder Todd Cantwell - who could be brought in as a replacement for Jack Grealish.

Grealish has been one of the stand-out performers in the Premier League this season and rumours have circulated regarding whether he will remain at Villa Park next term. 

It has been reported that Manchester City are interested in the 25-year-old and it appears Aston Villa are beginning to plan for life without their star man. 

According to the Daily Mail, Villa have identified Cantwell as a potential replacement and Norwich are braced for the Birmingham club to make a bid in the summer. 

As per the report, Norwich are prepared to consider good offers for their biggest talents should they be eager to leave Carrow Road, so it appears even their recent promotion hasn't ruled out the prospect of Cantwell moving on. 

It's believed that Norwich want around £30m for Cantwell's services. But does the Canaries man have what it takes to fill Grealish's shoes at Villa Park? 

GIVEMESPORT's Tom Kelly, Jonathan Gorrie, Sam Brookes and Josh Cole have their say below...

Tom Kelly 

"Not a chance.

"Cantwell is a talented footballer and he resembles Grealish's flair-filled playing style. But this would be like replacing a Ferrari with a BMW. I mean sure, the German car is still relatively quick, but can you really compare it to a Ferrari? 

"According to WhoScored statistics, only Harry Kane has provided a higher average rating than Grealish in the Premier League this season. Those are some pretty big shoes to fill for a player who has spent the last year in the Championship. 

"Cantwell has demonstrated his class in the second division, but his consistency just doesn't match Grealish's. Grealish has registered at least two key passes in all but three of his Premier League games this season - Cantwell has failed to provide two on 17 occasions in the Championship.

Jonathan Gorrie 

"Todd Cantwell isn't fit to lace Grealish's boots.

"Clearly, any team in the world would struggle to replace a man of that importance. Despite missing a number of weeks through injury, the England international remains top in their charts for assists, as well as key passes per game.

"Only two players average more shots over the same period too (via WhoScored), so anyone trying to come in and fill his boots would surely find it difficult. 

"Still, given they are reportedly asking for close to £100m, Villa must be looking at higher markets than Todd Cantwell, with all due respect.

"That sort of money would make them serious players in this summer's transfer market. They could do much, much better."

Sam Brookes 

"Replacing Grealish will be a thankless task for whoever receives the opportunity.

"Not only is he the captain of the team, he is also the most influential player, having racked up 16 goal involvements in the Premier League this term.

"If he does leave, who could fill the void? Well, Cantwell would give it a good try. In his previous Premier League campaign, he managed eight goal contributions and looked to be an exciting, young talent.

"He has since gone back down to the Championship, and played a key role in helping the Canaries earn promotion to the top-flight once more.

"It is easy to forget that Grealish was a relatively late bloomer, and did not start establishing himself as a Premier League player until Villa came back into the Premier League in 2019. Cantwell only turned 23 earlier this year and has time on his side to flourish in the years ahead.

"Don’t expect him to be the next Grealish just yet, but if Villa do make a move for Cantwell, they may end up with a top player on their hands."

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Josh Cole 

"Whilst it would be naïve to suggest that Cantwell is on the same level as Grealish, he could potentially be a good long-term replacement for the England international if he opts to leave Villa this summer.

"One of the only shining lights of a dismal 2019/20 campaign for Norwich in the Premier League, Cantwell provided eight direct goal contributions for his side whilst also recording an impressive pass success rate of 81.9%.

"Having already played a major role in the development of the likes of Ollie Watkins and Grealish, Dean Smith could transform him into a quality player at this level as well.

"Whereas the fee currently be touted by Norwich may seem to be high, it could turn out to be a bargain buy if the 23-year-old is able to make an instant impact at Villa Park next season."

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