Jack Grealish is a MAN UTD PLAYER and always has been!

Peter Staunton
  • Updated: 21 Mar 2024 10:43 GMT
  • 6 min read
Jack Grealish, Manchester City, Manchester United, 2024

It was on December 1, 2019, Jack Grealish proved that he should be a Manchester United player.

He was Aston Villa captain, taking his team to Old Trafford for a Premier League fixture which ended up 2-2.

Article continues under the video

Lining up on the left-wing, but really with the licence to do what he liked, Grealish was unplayable.

EXCLUSIVE: Unrest at Liverpool! Nunez and Szoboszlai fume over Klopp exit

A proper playmaker with the No.10 on his shirt, here was an attacker with diamonds in his boots, who could do anything with the ball, and whose individual contributions could take the game away from any calibre of opponent.

He wreaked havoc, continually probing, ensuring Man Utd dare not lose the ball in case a Villa team-mate would slip Grealish in on the break. Because if they did, forget about it.

Grealish had just turned 24, and by that stage had quite literally only played a handful of Premier League games. But he was so at ease on the big stage even then, and so at home at Old Trafford.

Jack Grealish the emerging superstar

Three hard-fought seasons in the Championship had toughened him up and he took everything that was thrown at him, even the punches of opposition fans.

And when he came back, he was heading for superstardom.

Dean Smith, his Villa manager, knew what he had on his hands. A hometown hero, with a keen sense of identification among the Villa support, he was the talisman.

Jack Grealish, Manchester City
© IMAGO - Jack Grealish, Manchester City

In those tricky fixtures where a newly promoted team would have to settle in and fight for their lives, Grealish was the chief threat, leading whatever attacking breakouts they could muster.

It’s exactly what he did that Sunday afternoon in Manchester.

Grealish scored one that day and it’s no exaggeration to say it was a world-class goal. Picking the ball up on his left-wing station, he dribbled easily past Andreas Pereira and inside the United box.

He curled the ball precisely into the far corner, one of those efforts that was so on the money that the goalkeeper, David de Gea, couldn’t dive, instead, he practically ran after it like an outfield player who’d been handed the gloves. It was exquisite.

And on that day you could imagine Jack Grealish doing it for Man Utd every weekend.

Man Utd miss out on Jack Grealish

"I was really close to going, but nothing happened in the end," Grealish told the Daily Telegraph back in 2021.

Donny van de Beek, Amad Diallo and Facundo Pellistri were among the midfielders and attackers United signed in the summer of 2020, the transfer period to which Grealish was referring to.

The following year they signed Jadon Sancho for £85 million when United's players wanted Grealish instead. They year after in came Antony for £100m.

Last summer, their new No.7 was confirmed as Mason Mount, for an initial £55m fee.

Mason Mount, Antony, Manchester United
© IMAGO - Mason Mount, Antony, Manchester United

In short United have spent an awful lot of money on attackers who have contributed next to nothing and spent far MORE than the £100m Manchester City paid for Grealish in 2021.

Jack Grealish's impressive Man City trophy haul

Grealish can certainly have no regrets from an honours perspective in the move he made having signed a contract until 2027. He’s won it all; the treble last season as well as a Club World Cup. His medal haul is impressive, much better than it would have been at United.

But there’s always been this nagging sense that it doesn’t quite fit and now this season more than ever.

Grealish is the ultimate off-the-cuff player and he’s playing under a manager, Pep Guardiola, who seems to despise creativity.

Maybe it’s because he was such a one-paced player himself, but Guardiola has always preferred his players to do what they are told.

For his wingers, that means either winning fouls high up the pitch or hitting the byline for a cut-back.

There is zero room for individualism. Everything is about doing a job for the team.

At Man United, they have always loved a player who can deliver the unexpected.

Man Utd love off-the-cuff players like Jack Grealish

Stretching all the way back to George Best and through to the age of Eric Cantona to Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo, United’s legendary players have possessed a ruthless individualism, they could get you off your seat and make you see things you’d not seen before.

That’s Jack Grealish.

Pep Guardiola Manchester City
© IMAGO - Pep Guardiola Manchester City

You can just imagine him now, with the No.7 on his back and maybe even the captain’s armband, sashaying towards goal, slotting home a finish and taking the adulation from the Stretford End.

Instead, at City, he’s in a straitjacket, and that’s when he even plays in the first place.

This season has been a reality check for Grealish. He’s played in only 14 Premier League matches, starting seven, for a total of around 700 minutes. He’s been out of form and injured.

His manager has even said he “won’t wait” for him to show that he can get back to his best. And why would he? He’s got another very expensive winger in Jeremy Doku who can do the job instead.

While in the treble-winning season he provided a genuine outlet, a true 90-minute man at key times, this season Grealish has reverted back to that first City season when the jury appeared out on the move.

Man City want to sell Jack Grealish

And now comes the news from HITC that Guardiola is considering offloading him this summer. That’s no surprise, sadly.

There are continual links with Khivcha Kvaratskhelia of Napoli while the deal for Girona's wing sensation Savio is done.

It’s a crucial juncture for Grealish; he’s 28 now, and his next move will be interesting to watch.

Maybe United will come in with a cheeky bid and get the rest of the best out of him in the second half of his career.

He deserves it and always had; to be adored and not just be an expensive spare part in a very well-oiled machine.

Never miss the next big transfer!

Get the latest transfer insights and analyses directly in your mailbox.