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Big Summary: Jack Grealish to Manchester City?

Jack Grealish to Manchester City is a real possibility, but nothing is done yet. Here, we'll neatly unpack today's stories and tell you what is actually going on.

OVERVIEW


IN THE BEGINNING


Reports emerged last night* from Duncan Wright in The Sun that Jack Grealish's agents believe they have an agreement with Aston Villa to leave once the Euros has concluded. Wright added that Manchester City have indicated they would be willing to break the current British transfer record, Manchester United's £89million signing of Paul Pogba from Juventus in 2016.


However, given Wright's patchy record with transfer stories, the report was quickly dismissed, and nothing more was thought about the piece. But the tone did suggest the 25-year-old's agents, Stellar Group, had provided Wright with some information.


*The report has since been updated and is now dated 25/06/21


This morning, Mail Sport* 'exclusively' revealed that City would be completing a record-breaking £100million deal for the Aston Villa captain after he finishes representing England at the Euros. It was reported that talks between the Premier League champions and the Midlands club had progressed rapidly, and they'd agreed on a deal. It was said City's interest in signing Harry Kane this summer remained.


*The report was initially credited to Simon Jones but has since been credited to Sam Blitz


Not too long after the Mail Sport piece, talkSPORT's Jim White revealed that, according to talkSPORT sources, England's #7 would be joining City in a £100million deal and that a deal was as good as done. White added that while Villa and City sources had not confirmed the news, he was told a deal was as good as done and close to completion.

Understandably, this early barrage of breaking news was met with much scepticism, given the questionable reliability of the publications/sources at play. Many fans were itching to see reports from the likes of John Percy of The Telegraph before getting excited or even worked up about what they were reading, while others simply could not contain themselves.


What followed talkSPORT was a report from Rob Dawson of ESPN, who also claimed that City are close to an agreement with Villa, but maintained that sources said a fee was yet to be agreed between the clubs. Dawson reported that City are ready to pay £100million for the player and that interest in Kane would be retained even if they got a deal for the Villa man over the line. Dawson added that there is a belief at City a deal is achievable after the Euros.


While nothing had been said by what is considered to be the gold standard for City, Villa, or transfer news at this point, it was clear that something was brewing in the background.


GOLD STANDARD


The gold standard of City/Villa/football journalism started rolling in after this, beginning with Simon Bajkowski of the Manchester Evening News, who reported that Pep Guardiola's side have set up a deal to sign the player and are ready to spend £100million on him. This was no longer a gimmick.


Bajkowski explained that a deal was not expected to be completed before England's participation at the Euros was complete - and that City sources insist nothing has been agreed with the player or the Birmingham club.


Bajkowski also highlighted that, while City have set aside a significant sum for a striker, they do not have unlimited funds to make two major purchases (Grealish + the #9), without balancing the squad. The likes of Bernardo Silva, Ilkay Gundogan, Raheem Sterling, and Riyad Mahrez were mentioned as those with uncertain futures.

For a while, the suggestion has been that a deal for Grealish would be explored should a current attacking or midfield option leave the club, the ever-reliable Martin Blackburn of The Sun reporting as much back in March.


With reports in the past few weeks suggesting that Bernardo Silva is looking to leave Manchester, this could prove to be a key factor in whether Grealish can actually join the club from a positional sense at the very least, given how well-stacked the club's midfield and wing positions are. Then we have to consider the financial aspect, with City looking at purchasing a striker to replace Sergio Aguero - it's clear a move for Grealish would be easier to manage should a player like Bernardo leave for a hefty sum, even with City set to make money from CFG and loan players like Lukas Nmecha, Pedro Porro, Yangel Herrera and Jack Harrison. But is there a club prepared with a genuine offer for Bernardo or any of the players with uncertain futures? Only time will tell.


The Athletic's David Ornstein and Gregg Evans were next, reporting that City are preparing a bid to sign Grealish from Villa, who are determined to keep their talisman. It was reported that City are expected to formalise their interest in due course and are keen on recruiting the midfielder/winger in a deal that would be separate from their attempts to sign England captain, Kane. It was added that a fee of about £100million would need to be produced to stand a chance of landing Villa's #10, with the ownership of Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens meaning they are in a strong financial position. Despite this, it's claimed that City's desire to add the player to their squad is undiminished and the level of finance required should be achievable, especially if the pursuit of Kane fails.


Rob Dorsett of Sky Sports was the first to reveal that Villa opened talks with their captain over an improved contract last week and also reported they are adamant they want to build a team around him, with recruitment plans based on him staying in the West Midlands under Dean Smith. Dorsett added that City have made it clear they will make a formal offer once the Euros finish.

John Percy of The Telegraph was next, confirming reports of Villa discussing a new contract with Grealish and City lining up a £100million record-breaking offer for the player. Percy stated that interest from Guardiola's side is genuine and they are prepared to make their move when England's Euro 2020 campaign is over. Percy spoke of the lure of European football at City being significant to the lifelong Villa fan, despite his loyalty to the club, but maintained that they are determined to keep their star man.


Ashley Preece of Birmingham Live provided further information, initially reporting that talks have taken place over the past 24 hours involving Txiki Bergiristain and Villa's hierarchy. However, this has since been updated to say initial talks are yet to happen between the two parties. One part of Preece's article that remained consistent was Grealish's representatives being confident of their client getting a move to City as Guardiola looks to secure a deal immediately after England's participation in Euro 2020.


Reports from various outlets like The Independent, Evening Standard, Goal, Phil McNulty and Simon Stone at the BBC, Paul Hirst and Pol Ballus at The Times, have followed, reporting practically the same story.


Every journalist mentioned by name in this section is considered to be reliable for their various clubs and football/transfer news in general.


SUMMARY


  • There is no agreement between Manchester City and Aston Villa for the transfer of Jack Grealish as of yet.

  • No transfer is imminent.

  • No 'official' talks have been conducted by the two clubs, although it is highly likely some discussions have taken place.


  • Manchester City are ready to spend £100million on the 25-year-old and have set up a deal to sign the player.

  • Manchester City would wait for the Aston Villa captain's involvement in Euro 2020 to end before making any move.

  • Manchester City may need to offload a player before signing Jack Grealish as they're also after a striker.

  • Moving for Jack Grealish is separate to a deal for Harry Kane.

  • Aston Villa determined to keep Jack Grealish and build future teams around him.

  • Aston Villa have opened contract talks with Jack Grealish in the first steps to keep him at the club amid interest from Pep Guardiola.

  • Aston Villa in a strong financial position because of Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens ownership, who have no desire or need to sell.


  • The lure of Champions League football at Manchester City could be significant for Jack Grealish.

  • Jack Grealish's representatives are confident a move to Manchester City will happen this summer.

PREDICTION


Jack Grealish to Manchester City in a deal worth up to £100million is a genuine possibility, but there's a lot of work to be done. Departures at City, or the lack of, could prove to be a major sticking point in the move. Liquidity in football is at a low and some of Europe's top clubs are cash-strapped, making moves for the likes of Bernardo Silva very difficult. There is a possibility that City are considering going into the new campaign without a striker, at which point a move for Grealish would become independent of a sale, but we find this highly unlikely as the club will be extremely reluctant to go another season without a world-class #9. However, the fact City have seemingly already sanctioned a deal for the Aston Villa captain could suggest that an exit for a current attacking/midfield option in Guardiola's squad is already in the works or that they're willing to purchase him regardless, but the latter option seems unlikely to us. All this, without considering how strong Villa could and probably will remain in their stance of not selling. For this move to happen, we'd say Grealish has to inform Villa of his desire to leave for City, and a player, likely to be Bernardo Silva, would have to leave. We'll see what happens as the transfer window progresses, but City are prepared to land Jack Grealish and are ready to add him to Pep Guardiola's squad this summer.

Written by: @NA1907_


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