With Jack Grealish having departed Aston Villa and signed for reigning Premier League champions Manchester City, you might be forgiven for thinking that Dean Smith and his squad would be feeling a little sorry for themselves.
However, that would be far from the truth.
As the Midlanders get ready for their first match of the 2021/22 Premier League campaign against Watford, Smith believes his team are in a much better place since their talisman left.
Although on first hearing that might appear to be a controversial view, one can certainly understand Smith’s logic, and if the Villains can continue on their upward trajectory, a European placing certainly isn’t beyond them.
“Rather than becoming superstars, they want to become a super team. I feel there was an over-reliance at times on Jack. Everyone could see that,” Smith was quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror.
“He was a top quality player and he must have been to go for £100million for the British record transfer fee.
“Our job was then to progress and move forward.
“We were always bringing Emi Buendia into the football club, but with Jack’s departure, it enabled us to go and get Leon Bailey and Danny Ings as well.
“Then with Axel and Ashley Young I believe makes us into a better team now.”
Grealish will almost certainly be a mainstay of a City side that have already been installed as favourites for the title before a ball has been kicked in earnest.
He’ll be the least of Villa’s worries as they concentrate on getting off to as good a start as possible.