EPL

Grealish's Man City success defined by trophies, not price tag – James

By Sports Desk April 08, 2022

Jack Grealish will prove a good signing for Manchester City, says David James, even if the former England goalkeeper remains unsure whether the playmaker has lived up to his record-breaking price tag.

Grealish became the most expensive British transfer of all time when he moved to the Premier League champions from Aston Villa for £100million last year.

While the 26-year-old has not been at the sparkling best he showed during his time at Villa, he has made 31 appearances across all competitions, starting 26 times.

Those appearances have yielded only four goals, with Pep Guardiola happy to utilise Grealish as a rotation option, with City still in with a chance of a domestic and European treble.

Though Grealish's price tag hangs over his head, ex-City man James believes helping deliver more silverware will make the transfer worthwhile.

"You can't ignore the money," James told Stats Perform. "But there wouldn't be a value or a price tag which would arguably justify either way whether it was a good or bad signing.

"Grealish has been heavily involved in Manchester City's games this season. [They are] top of the league, [in the] quarter-finals of the Champions League and semi-finals of the FA Cup.

"Jack Grealish has been involved in that. He's part of the team which has been very successful at the moment. It's a good signing."

Grealish directly contributed to 16 Premier League goals last season at Villa (six goals, 10 assists), but that figure stands at just four so far this term (two goals, two assists).

He crafted 81 chances in total last season in the top flight, at an average of 3.3 per 90 minutes. That has dropped to 43 so far this season (2.5 per 90).

But James believes the switch has shown new shades to Grealish's game, such as having to become more of a team player in a squad packed with stars.

"The thing that I like more about Jack is that there's a different side to his game than what he had [at] Aston Villa," he added.

"As influential as he was, it was almost like they needed Jack to make Aston Villa work. [City] don't need in the same sense. They don't need Jack at Manchester City for Man City to work.

"He has to be part of the bigger team, which I think he's done successfully. I think he's been a successful signing.

"If City are to win the league, [if] they are to win the Champions League [and if they are] to win the FA Cup, then a big part of that will be Jack Grealish being in the club."

Related items

  • Now or never for Benzema with Ballon d'Or, but he has Mbappe's backing Now or never for Benzema with Ballon d'Or, but he has Mbappe's backing

    Kylian Mbappe suggests Karim Benzema would have to "stop thinking about the Ballon d'Or forever" if he did not win the top individual award this year.

    Benzema is the favourite among the 30 Ballon d'Or nominees announced by France Football on Friday.

    The announcement marked the end of an era, with last year's winner Lionel Messi absent from the shortlist for the first time since 2005.

    Mbappe is at the forefront of the next generation of contenders, and he told France Football he would put himself on the 2022 podium alongside Benzema and Sadio Mane.

    But the forward's France team-mate Benzema is clearly a deserving winner, having inspired Real Madrid to LaLiga and Champions League glory.

    Indeed, Mbappe feels Benzema will never take home the Ballon d'Or if this is not his year.

    "Of course. He is 34 years old, has just made the season of his life, wins another Champions League by often being decisive," the Paris Saint-Germain striker told France Football.

    "Instead of Karim, if I don't win there [in that position], I stop thinking about the Ballon d'Or forever."

    It has been a fine week for Benzema, who surpassed Raul as Madrid's outright second-highest goalscorer in a midweek Super Cup win over Eintracht Frankfurt, while he was shortlisted for the UEFA Men's Player of the Year award ahead of his Ballon d'Or nomination.

    But prior to the match in Helsinki, Benzema said: "I'm not like that in terms of whether I'm the best or not. I always give my all for this club, the best club in the world.

    "I have to give more and more every year. It's true I had a very good season, but other people can comment on if I'm the best in the world. I'm focused on helping my team in matches, that's all I can say.

    "I'm not thinking about [the Ballon d'Or]; there's trophies to win every year, that's very important. I always stress the importance of success for the team that leads to individual success."

    After Madrid's victory, Los Blancos coach Carlo Ancelotti said there was "no doubt" that Benzema was the world's best player.

  • Barcelona midfielder Nico completes Valencia loan move Barcelona midfielder Nico completes Valencia loan move

    Barcelona midfielder Nico Gonzalez has completed a season-long loan move to LaLiga rivals Valencia.

    The 20-year-old broke into Barca's first team last season, scoring two goals and providing as many assists in 37 appearances.

    With Franck Kessie among the Blaugrana's new signings and Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva reportedly a target, Nico informed Xavi he wanted to move on in order to be given more playing time.

    Valencia on Saturday confirmed Nico will spend the 2022-23 campaign at the Mestalla Stadium.

    Barca's head coach Xavi on Friday stated that he had mixed feelings over Nico's temporary switch.

    He said: "[Nico] came to me three weeks ago. I insisted that he continue because he would have minutes. I like Nico.

    "But a few days ago he came back and told me that there was a team where he would play. He has been brave and is going to Valencia.

    "I hope he comes back more mature because it must be important for the future of Barca. For the midfield we have [Sergio] Busquets, [Miralem] Pjanic, Kessie, Frenkie [de Jong], Sergi Roberto, and even [Andreas] Christensen, who can play there."

    Valencia start their season at home to newly promoted Girona on Sunday, while Barca face Rayo Vallecano on Saturday.

  • De Ligt explains Juventus criticism, wants 'to get my Ajax game back' De Ligt explains Juventus criticism, wants 'to get my Ajax game back'

    Matthijs de Ligt insists he did not "attack" Juventus when pointing out the club had underperformed, although he feels he will be better suited to playing for Bayern Munich.

    De Ligt left Juve for Bayern ahead of the 2022-23 season, having widely been seen as failing to fulfil his potential in three years in Turin.

    The Netherlands centre-back was outstanding in Ajax's run to the 2018-19 Champions League semi-finals, earning a move to Juve, where he faced a battle for his place.

    De Ligt started fewer than 30 Serie A matches in each of his three seasons with the Bianconeri.

    There was some backlash then when De Ligt, discussing the possibility of a transfer in June, criticised Juve's back-to-back fourth-placed finishes.

    Speaking to De Telegraaf on Saturday, De Ligt explained: "In an interview with NOS in June, I said that – as the club itself thinks – to be fourth tw‪ice in a row with Juventus is not good enough.

    "That was not an attack on Juventus. Not at all, because I will always have the utmost respect for this club.

    "For me, it was just a fact that no one could be satisfied, that the bar had to be raised, including for me. Maybe it came across incorrectly."

    De Ligt added he would "never forget" the help he received from his Juve team-mates in his "development as a footballer and as a person".

    However, he likened the style of play in Serie A to chess, saying it is "much more tactical".

    Now, De Ligt believes both he and Louis van Gaal's Netherlands team can benefit from his move to Bayern, where the approach is more in line with that he learned at Ajax.

    "I am very happy that I was able to experience that [at Juve], that I was able to play that way, because I have learned a lot," he said.

    "The reason for going to Juventus was also to become a better defender, even though there were differences with the Dutch national team.

    "At Juventus, I often had to stay in the position, while at certain times I was required to go [forward] with the Oranje.

    "At Bayern, I want to get my Ajax game back again.

    "[Bayern coach Julian] Nagelsmann's playing style is much closer to what Louis van Gaal asks of his defenders: defending high, putting high pressure, connecting well and playing forward a lot.

    "I think it's a move that can be good for the Dutch national team and my chances, but I did discuss the transfer with [Van Gaal]. He said he had a great time here."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.