Aston Villa supporters have been pretty despondent in recent times after seeing their side suffer a second Championship defeat of the season at the weekend.
Steve Bruce’s men went into their encounter with in-form Sheffield Wednesday off the back of beating Rotherham United 2-0 in their preceding league clash, and thus seeking back-to-back wins for the second time this term. Yet goals from Marco Matias and Steven Fletcher either side of a John McGinn stunner sealed a 2-1 victory for Jos Luhukay’s Owls, thus prompting many boos from home supporters come the final whistle as their side slipped to 13th place in the Championship table.
Thus, there have been many disappointed and frustrated Villa fans up and down the country in recent times, although there has been some good news recently given influential ace Jack Grealish penned a new long-term deal with the club earlier this week.
And while an agreement has been reached with the 23-year-old over his future, which is thus good news for Villans supporters, they aren’t out of the woods just yet, with Bruce’s side needing to back up their end of the bargain to keep Grealish at the club long term.
Ultimately, there was much talk during the summer regarding the future of the former England Under-21 international, with Tottenham one side reportedly keen on giving him another chance in the Premier League.
Yet Villa’s financial situation improved greatly to ultimately mean that they had no need to cash in on Grealish during the close season, and have since flexed their muscles by tying him down to a new deal worth a reported £50,000 a week.
Yet all a new deal does, alongside appease the supporters, is strengthen Villa’s hand in negotiations were teams to come in for Grealish in January or indeed in the summer – Spurs may not have wanted to pay the asking price during the close season, but that doesn’t mean that they, or indeed other sides, won’t come in for the 23-year-old come the New Year.
Thus, it’s imperative that Bruce’s side keep up their end of the bargain, which surely entails proving their promotion credentials between now and January, and then beyond heading into the second half of the season.
£50,000 a week for a player in the Championship is a lot of money and likely only seen in those teams battling for a return to the Premier League – Villa need to be in that position, as while Grealish’s loyalty deserves credit, he will likely be aware that to improve as a footballer, and perhaps earn recognition at international level, he needs to be playing in the top-flight.
And while he would surely love to do that with Villa once again, having done so between 2014 and 2016, interest could mount again in January were he to have a bright first half of the season, and then he would have a decision to make especially if Bruce’s side weren’t showing promotion-winning form.
Thus, while a new deal was a good move by the Villa hierarchy, it is now up to manager Bruce and the squad of players to make sure that they keep up their end of the bargain in trying to return the club to the Premier League, and indeed Grealish to the top level where his ability undoubtedly belongs.
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