Friday, August 6, 2021

Transfer News: Jack Grealish Heads to Manchester City; Lionel Messi Headed To?

Manchester City completed its English record £100 million acquisition of Jack Grealish from Aston Villa. Pep Guardiola is reportedly enamored of Grealish who, while a fine player, does not address the club’s need for a striker and will compete for time in the City lineup with such stars as England teammate Phil Foden.

Despite the Grealish acquisition Manchester City, retains an interest in acquiring disgruntled Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane though Spurs seem an unwilling seller. Aston Villa, anticipating the loss of Grealish, had previously moved to sign Danny Ings from Southampton, Leon Bailey from Bayer Leverkusen, and Emi Buendia from Norwich City. Ings provides impressive scoring punch for the Birmingham side should he be able to stay healthy. Despite frequent time missed to injury, Ings’s 34 goals over the course of the past two Premier League seasons are exceeded only by  Harry Kane, Mohamed Salah, and Jamie Vardy. Buendia, meanwhile, had 15 goals and 16 assists to help Norwich City win automatic promotion from the Championship last year. Bailey, a Jamaican international, scored 15 goals across all competitions last season for Bayer Leverkusen. Villa has also added 36-year-old Ashley Young, the former Manchester United player who played last season at Italian Champion Inter Milan.

Competing for the headlines with the Grealish deal was the announcement by Barcelona that Lionel Messi will be leaving the club due to financial restrictions.

While Messi is hotly rumored to be reuniting with Neymar alongside Kylian Mbappe at PSG, Premier League fans dream of a different reunion, with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, or a more farfetched shock move to address Chelsea’s scoring deficiencies should rumored Romelu Lukaku to London talks prove unfruitful. A PSG deal for Messi, meanwhile, would end speculation of Manchester United’s Paul Pogba moving to the French giants. While the Kane and Lukaku sagas might dominate Premier League transfer conversation, Arsenal fans are waiting on further moves from the Gunners. Having earlier addressed center back concerns with the acquisition of Ben White from Brighton and Hove Albion, the club is thin in midfield, particularly after a preseason injury to Thomas Partey. Arsenal has been in talks with Leicester regarding James Maddison while Lyon’s Houssem Aouar may represent a more affordable option. Less likely is the prospect of the Gunners successfully convincing Real Madrid to allow an encore for Martin Odegaard in north London. Joe Willock still struggles to find favor with Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and could be sold to Newcastle with those funds to be reinvested in another midfielder. While Arsenal is short in midfield, injuries have created serious defensive concerns for Leicester which earlier in the window acquired Reyan Bertrand on a free transfer from Southampton. Schalke defender Ozan Kabak, who played on loan for Liverpool last season, is one name that has connected with the Foxes’ need for defensive reinforcement.

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