Aston Villa are being heavily linked with Liverpool winger Ben Woodburn, with the 18-year-old hot prospect close to joining the Midlands outfit on loan for the season. However, his arrival could mean an existing player leaves the club – Jack Grealish. Tottenham are keen on his signature and may have more look in their pursuit after Villa sign an attacking replacement.
Grealish’s future at Villa Park is uncertain. The club’s failure to earn promotion via the Championship playoffs last season has led to the 22-year-old considering a move elsewhere. While Villa were struggling to pay their monthly tax bill, owner Tony Xia made it clear that funds would have to be made through the sales of existing individuals.
Manager Steve Bruce even backed up the suggestion, calling Grealish’s exit “inevitable”. Villa have since been taken over by Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens, two very rich and successful businessmen, but it doesn’t mean the fan favourite won’t leave. If Grealish is offered the chance to play in the Premier League, he can hardly turn it down – especially if he doesn’t believe the Villans will ever make it back.
Having risen through the youth ranks to the first-team, the England u21 international has gone on to make 110 appearances in all competitions, scoring and creating 22 goals. His current deal with the club has two years remaining, but Villa can make the most value by cashing in on the interest.
Nevertheless, losing a talented playmaker who can operate between the lines and is a product of the academy will be tough to take. Grealish has great potential and fans will have hoped he’d realise it at the club, but his future appears to be elsewhere due to Villa failing to match his ambition.
Woodburn would come close to replacing him on the pitch either, as the Liverpool teenager isn’t a like-for-like replacement. He’s made only 11 first-team appearances for the Reds, scoring one goal and could be a talented player in years to come.
At youth level, Woodbury has scored and created 18 goals in 24 games for the u23s and four goals in eight outings for the u19s. Grealish was more of a playmaker who would create chances for teammates, but the Welsh international instead looks like a goalscorer.
Should he complete the move as expected, he’ll be in for a culture shock given his young age and relative first-team inexperience, but Villa may have a gem on their hands if they use him correctly. It’s a shame it may come at the expense of Grealish’s departure.
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