It will be a nervy summer for all Aston Villa fans as the rumours surrounding the long-term future of club captain Jack Grealish are already rife. Manchester United have been admirers of the Englishman over the last couple of years, and should Aston Villa be relegated this summer it would appear as though Grealish will be leaving Villa Park.
Of course, it is not a full-gone conclusion at present, with Villa still having a realistic chance of survival. But, sportsbooks such as Bethard already fear that the task is too great for the Villa and that they will be condemned to the drop after just one season back in the Premier League. Planning will be the crucial aspect of securing promotion next season, but who could the Villa identify as a replacement for Grealish?
One player that has already been linked with a move to Villa should Grealish move on in the summer is Dijon’s 21-year-old attacking midfielder Mounir Chouiar. The French youngster has enjoyed a progression season in Ligue 1 this term, as he has scored four goals in 18 starts.
He immediately has the attacking threat that Villa fans will crave, as he averages two shots per game and has a pass completion rate of 76.2%. Chouiar also has an eye for a pass and makes an average of 2.2 key passes per game for Dijon. The rumours seem to indicate that the Villa will be able to sign the Frenchman for a fee in the region of £8 million.
Villa may instead look for a proven player in the Championship, and there aren’t too many more exciting than Queen Park Ranger’s Eberechi Eze. The 21-year-old has impressed throughout the season for the R’s, and he has scored 12 goals in 40 games in all competitions. He certainly offers the creative guile that the Villa will need once Grealish has left, as he has registered eight assists in the Championship this season.
Eze would seamlessly fit into the Villa side, as he craves to play for a team that will dominate the possession. He has achieved a pass completion rate of 86.3% this season and has an average of 2.4 shots per game. According to WhoScored, he has also won the man of the match accolade in ten of his 38 games in the Championship.
Should Grealish decide to join United, then Villa could ask for Jesse Lingard to be included as part of the deal. It would be a move that would make sense for both club’s as Lingard’s career at Old Trafford has grown stale. The Englishman now finds himself further down the pecking order following the arrival of Bruno Fernandes, and a fresh start could be potentially what he needs.
Lingard has scored just two goals in 34 games this season, but there is no denying that there is a good player in there if Villa can get the best out of him. Even this season where he has struggled, he has still averaged 1.3 shots per game, and he has a pass completion rate of 87.5%.