Jack Grealish has a big decision to make: Manchester City for £100m or stay with Aston Villa?
It looks as if City's bid is going to be reluctantly accepted - and we all expect Grealish to win honours on Eastlands for years to come. But the choice might not be quite so clear-cut. Grealish is one of the most exciting stars in English football, of course, but Villa is his boyhood club. He's captain there, idolised - and the Midlands side are going places.
NEWS Aston Villa will accept £100m bid for Jack Grealish
So should Super Jack pack it all in at Villa Park and join up with Pep Guardiola? Or is he making a mistake? FourFourTwo writers Ed McCambridge and Mark White have differing views on this one...
Ed McCambridge (@edmccambridge): Jack Grealish should stay with Aston Villa
I believe Jack Grelish should stay at Aston Villa. I appreciate he would earn more money at Manchester City, and almost certainly win trophies under Pep Guardiola, but, nevertheless, I feel he should stay.
He is the captain of his boyhood club, adored by supporters and a guaranteed starter every weekend; the man around which an entire game plan revolves. None of these things will be the case at Manchester City, where he’ll merely be another high-spec gadget revolving around the nucleus of Kevin De Bruyne. Along with Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden, Bernardo Silva, Ilkay Gundogan, Raheem Sterling and Ferran Torres, he will spend extended periods sitting on the bench. When he does play, he will not be given the same license to display his talents. His wings will be clipped. Perhaps, also, his England career could suffer if his playing time drops.
Furthermore, I think this would be the wrong time to leave Villa. There have been plenty of miserable periods for their fans to endure, but this is not one of them. Dean Smith’s side are improving every year, and nobody would be surprised to see them qualify for Europe this season given the arrivals of Emi Buendia and potentially Leon Bailey this summer. It's is an incredibly exciting time for the club; a project to be proud of.
Compare Greslish’s situation to Harry Kane’s, who I believe should move to Manchester City this summer. The England captain is also considered “one of our own”, by Spurs fans, but not even they could argue the club's moving in the right direction. Will Kane look back in five years time and see this as an exciting period of growth in Tottenham’s history? Or is it more likely to be further years of chop and change - Poch to Mourinho at the flick of a switch - while pennies are pinched in the wake of a new stadium and a global pandemic?
The future looks bright at Villa. This is perhaps the greatest time to play for the club in the past 20 years and Grealish is key to that success. Yes trophies and extra cash are alluring, but achieving something smaller with the people that love you could be worth a thousand times more.
Mark White (@markwhlte): Jack Grealish should leave for Manchester City
As an Arsenal fan, I know all too well of how heartbreaking it is to see your stars leave for Manchester City. And Grealish is levels above the likes of Samir Nasri, Emmanuel Adebayor or Gael Clichy in terms of importance for Aston Villa - so this is going to hurt.
But Grealish is leaving at an opportune moment for the club that have raised him. He could've gone last summer but stuck with them: now, he's worth nine figures and Villa are on the up. This one sale could trigger a rebuild for the club - they've already replaced him pretty darn well in Emi Buendia - and with the top six in more flux than ever, this could be Villa's chance to make an assault on the top four.
Look at how Leicester City have survived selling the likes of Riyad Mahrez, Harry Maguire and Ben Chilwell, adapting and replacing their talents wisely. Grealish isn't exactly leaving Villa in the lurch, is he? He's stuck through relegation, promotion, another relegation fight and helped establish them as an upper-table club in the Premier League.
Grealish will become a world-class footballer at City and fulfil a destiny, while £100m for Aston Villa buys them depth and quality across the spine of their side. Everybody wins - and this was always going to happen.
City's other target, Harry Kane, is learning the hard way about loyalty. He signed a six-year deal while Tottenham Hotspur were building a bright future with Mauricio Pochettino just halfway into that, he's holding the club together - and still trophyless. Grealish could well become a club legend at Villa - if he isn't already - but he's 25: he could do that in Manchester. And hey, becoming a legend at the Etihad isn't exactly difficult...