Manchester City mean business. If that was ever in doubt, it has now become very clear. Breaking transfer records to sign Jack Grealish is a statement of intent. It shows just how hungry and determined the club is to maintain the winning momentum. Making history as the first British club to cross the £100m barrier in transfer fee for a player takes guts.
It also sends a strong message to rivals.
The hierarchy is determined to take this club to the summit of European football. Reaching the Champions League final last season was just the beginning. If anything, it gave a glimpse of what is to come. When one of the best teams in the world goes ahead to break transfer records to make the team even stronger, that speaks volumes.
The best part? Harry Kane could be added before the window closes at even a higher price. Insane as that may seem, the duo could easily be replacements for David Silva and Sergio Aguero.
All of Jurgen Klopp, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and even Thomas Tuchel would likely be green with envy at this point. The latter in particular was fond of saying his team was trying to close the gap to Man City last term.
But with additions like Grealish and Kane, that gap could easily grow wider. The fear of letting that happen could also be responsible for why the London side is considering bringing back former striker Romelu Lukaku.
Klopp on the other hand could be expected to aim digs at City at the slightest opportunity. The Liverpool boss has sought to let everyone know how competing against City was so unfair given the club’s deep pockets.
Recall that City have made a few huge signings in recent times even if they only broke the club’s own transfer records. Riyad Mahrez joined from Leicester City for £60m. He was followed by Rodri from Atletico Madrid at the same price. Last year, Ruben Dias moved to the Etihad Stadium for £63m, a then club record.
These fees have infuriated most rival clubs fans who now demand more investment from their owners. Towards the end of last season, Manchester United fans demonstrated at Old Trafford,against the club owners. The goal was to force the club’s hierarchy to make bigger signings.
The news about City’s new acquisitions will only make them more discontent. Call it jealousy if you like. But they have to come to terms with the fact that the days of Man United’s dominance are over.
From the team’s performance angle, we can argue about whether or not Jack Grealish is the club’s biggest need. What we can’t argue about is the fact that he is a special talent. He certainly improves the team as he adds extra quality.
City’s director of football Txiki Begiristain knows a special talent when he sees one. His comments on Grealish’s signing carry much weight.
“We are absolutely delighted to be able to welcome Jack Grealish to Manchester City. He is an incredible talent,” Begiristain said.
“Jack’s development over the past few seasons both for club and country has been plain for everybody to see.
“His natural talent together with his commitment to improve as a player, has seen him become one of the most exciting attacking players in world football today.
“I am certain that the fans are going to love seeing him in our team. Pep loves the way he plays, and we all feel he is an ideal fit for Manchester City. Our style and his style are a perfect match. I’m excited to watch him over the coming years.”
His dribbling skills, intelligence on the ball, and an eye for a pass make him well suited for Pep Guardiola’s style. He can also cross and set up his teammates for goals. The 25-year-old recorded a combined double figures in goals and assists in each of his last three seasons at Aston Villa.
Expect those numbers to go up at City. That’s for the simple reason that he is now surrounded by better players.
And wouldn’t it be a huge relief to finally have a player who can replace Kevin De Bruyne? The Belgian is susceptible to injury and spends a considerable amount of time on the sidelines every season. Guardiola will no longer have any worries about his starman’s unavailability.
That means the team’s dip in form caused by injury to key players at critical times in the season, will now be minimized. Players can also suffer a dip in form as was the case with Raheem Sterling last term. There will be ready replacements in such cases.
Players can also be afforded rest time in the course of the campaign. That will keep them fresh to perform even better.
Don’t forget that Grealish can play in midfield, on the wings and even as a false nine. Whatever the need, he is the kind of player that can be trusted to deliver. Having a game-changer like him in the squad is invaluable.
With City consistently competing on several fronts through the season, squad depth is of utmost importance. Having a player like Grealish to count on breeds confidence. And that will impact the team’s overall performance positively.
The most important aspect of this signing is the fact that it strikes fear into rivals. It says “watch out! We are Manchester City, the dominant force in the division and a European superpower.”