Of the players regularly linked with Manchester United, Jack Grealish is one of the most intriguing.
According to the Manchester Evening News, United are front-runners for the 24-year-old’s signature this summer. And there is no doubt he is ready for the step up.
The problem for Grealish is that United are – for the first time in a long time – full of quality in midfield. But this week he has the chance to prove his worth.
According to the Mirror, Aston Villa will demand £80million for Grealish, even if they are relegated. In a normal market, that would not be seen as completely crazy.
But the current situation across the globe means big-money deals will be few and far between. United will look to do a deal for far less.
Grealish has shone time and again this season. However, as he prepares to face United this evening, he may be hoping for the biggest and best of auditions.
After all, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will find it hard to step back from a possible move if Grealish can end the visitors’ 16-game unbeaten run.
Given his age, and his innate talent, Grealish may be one of the few players in England to justify an £80m price tag right now.
He has his peak years ahead of him, he has played his way into consistent form in impressive style and his off-field issues are hopefully behind him.
He also fits United’s blueprint for new signings down to a tee.
If Solskjaer signs Grealish and manages to fit him into the same starting XI as Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba, the Red Devils would have one of the world’s best midfields.
The reported United target has nine goals and eight assists this season. Yet it is his all-round play that has impressed the most.
Grealish’s ability on the ball is remarkable and he will cause United plenty of problems if they don’t get a handle on him.
The boss’s comments on the player earlier this week spoke volumes about his influence on the field.
If Solskjaer is genuinely interested in the midfielder – and he should be – he will have focused on negating the very talents that have endeared him to the boss.
If United can keep Grealish quiet for one match, all the better. But if the £80million-rated star goes some way to justifying that price tag this week, it could be remembered as the audition that reaffirmed what Solskjaer already knows.
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