Amid ongoing speculation of interest from Man Utd, former Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor has urged Jack Grealish to think bigger.
After driving Villa’s promotion push from the Championship last season, the 24-year-old has been an integral part of their bid to avoid relegation from the Premier League this year.
Having scored nine goals and provided eight assists in 29 games in all competitions, Grealish has been the stand-out player for Dean Smith’s side, although they remain just a point above the drop zone with only 11 games remaining this season.
Relegation would arguably result in them losing their star man, but it remains to be seen if they can avoid an immediate return to the second tier and if they can even lift silverware this weekend when they face Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday.
As noted by The Sun, Grealish is said to be a priority for Man Utd in the summer transfer window to bolster Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad, and it’s specifically suggested that he could be valued at around £70m.
However, former teammate Agbonlahor believes that he should aim higher than a move to Old Trafford, especially given their ongoing struggles to get back to the top, as he is convinced that Grealish can flourish at the very highest level even for the likes of Barcelona or Juventus.
“I am not just saying this as I have played with him, but I honestly think he is the best attacking midfield option that England have got at this current time,” he is quoted as saying by the Sun. “That is why, when people say Grealish to Manchester United, he could do so much better than that.
“He could walk into any team in the world, even Barcelona or Juventus.
“For where Manchester United are now, he could go to better teams around the world, so he doesn’t need to limit himself to just United and focus on teams who are playing in the Champions League.
“The good thing about Jack is that he can run with and without the ball, play in different positions and score goals. He is the type of player that fans of football will go to a game to specifically watch him, even if they aren’t fans of Villa.”
It’s hard to disagree with Agbonlahor in terms of Grealish’s talent and he still has room for improvement and development in the coming years.
Nevertheless, a switch to Man Utd is still a major move for any player, and perhaps with Solskjaer’s strategy to build a long-term plan by signing talented youngsters, Grealish would fit into that perfectly and be part of their push to become a force again.
In contrast, there is the risk of not being able to adapt as well to a European league and seeing his career stall with fierce competition for places, albeit it could be argued he has the all-round game to flourish in Spain or Italy.
That said, the priority for him right now will no doubt be to keep his boyhood club up this season, and perhaps if that happens, then he’ll want to remain and try to build towards success with them instead.