Jack Grealish is facing a troublesome situation at club level, as one pundit has claimed Aston Villa would not want to re-sign him if he was put up for sale by Manchester City.
Grealish was a hero at Villa before his City move, as he established himself as their talisman after coming through the academy setup. Despite penning a new long-term contract with the West Midlands side in September 2020, the left winger departed his boyhood club the following summer.
Villa had reached an agreement with Grealish that if a Champions League side came in with a huge £100million offer, they would accept. And that is exactly what City did.
Grealish struggled to get used to Pep Guardiola’s system and tactics during his first year at the Etihad. He fared better last season though, registering 16 goal contributions in 50 matches as the Citizens completed an historic treble of the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup.
But the England star’s place in the City starting eleven came under threat when Jeremy Doku arrived at the Etihad in the summer. And the Belgian has since forced his way into Guardiola’s team, having made a big impression on the Spanish coach with his speed and dribbling ability.
Grealish being forced to settle for a substitute role has led to tentative talk he might leave City in the near future, with former club Villa being mentioned as one potential solution.
However, former Liverpool and Nottingham Forest striker Stan Collymore does not think Unai Emery would be happy to see the 28-year-old return to Villa Park. In his column for CaughtOffside, the pundit wrote: ‘Doku is a serious talent and it looks to me like he’s going to be City’s main wide attacker for years to come.
‘Phil Foden is one of the club’s own and a player who is still very young. He’s also super versatile in attack so he’s not going anywhere — so that does kind of beg the question as to what could happen with Jack Grealish.
Jack Grealish Man City spell ‘coming to an end’
‘I do wonder if his time with City is coming to an end. He’s done well there and has the silverware to show for it but he continues to be linked with an exit and a return to Aston Villa in particular.
‘I really like Grealish – he’s a top player and an even nicer human being but as a Villa fan would I take him back? – No, I don’t think I would.
‘I don’t think Unai Emery would embrace Grealish coming back. He did exceptionally well during his time there and most fans will always be thankful, but the club has moved on since then. We’re in a different position with different goals and I just think digging up the past rarely proves beneficial.
‘And not only that, who’s to say Grealish even wants to come back to Villa? – He might want to challenge himself in one of Europe’s big leagues, or he might have eyes on a lucrative Saudi deal. Who knows. Either way, a move back to Villa? – No, not for me.’