Manchester City playmaker Jack Grealish ‘might end up back’ at Aston Villa if his performance levels don’t improve this season.
That’s according to former Villa striker Tony Cascarino, who was speaking to talkSPORT.
City paid a British record transfer fee of £100m to sign Grealish from Villa last summer, but on paper the 26-year-old didn’t set the world alight in his first season at the Etihad Stadium, notching just six goal involvements in the Premier League (three goals, three assists) and 10 overall (six goals, four assists).
For context, seven different Villa players – Ollie Watkins, Danny Ings, Jacob Ramsey, Philippe Coutinho, Emiliano Buendia, Matty Cash and John McGinn – recorded more goal contributions in last season’s top flight.
Cascarino reckons that City could run out of patience with Grealish if he fails to live up to his price tag this season.
He thinks that the England international, who has too often produced ‘six out of tens’, could find himself on the loan or transfer list come next summer, and that may present an opportunity for his former club.
Cascarino said of Grealish: “At the end of the season, if he doesn’t pick up his standards, what we know he’s capable of and why they paid £100m for him, he’ll probably be loaned out or he might end up back at Villa.
“He’s not playing well enough consistently for Man City. I’m not talking about being OK, six out of tens. He should be eight or nine. He’s got so much quality.”
There may be some Villa supporters who dream about the prospect of Grealish returning to the Midlands.
The 26-year-old, who scored 32 goals and provided 43 assists for the club, made the Championship Team of the Year when they got promoted in 2019 under Dean Smith and won Villa’s Player of the Year prize after helping them to survive in the top flight the following season.
He has also expressed his admiration for Steven Gerrard in the past, tweeting in 2014 that the then-Liverpool captain was an ‘unreal’ player whose ‘passion is the best’.
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Furthermore, he insisted following his departure from the Midlands that he would ‘always be a Villa fan‘, and perhaps he privately plans to make a comeback towards the end of his career.
However, Grealish’s underlying statistics in his first season at City suggest that he could make a much bigger impact this term.
Only three players – Kevin De Bruyne, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mohamed Salah – could better his record of 0.3 expected assists per 90 last term, and if his team-mates are more clinical this time around, his headline numbers could improve dramatically.
If they do, City definitely won’t be entertaining the idea of letting him go back to his former stomping ground.
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