Jack Grealish belongs at Aston Villa, but will remain there?
He is good enough to go anywhere he wishes, from Manchester United, to Arsenal, or anywhere else on the continent, across the Chanel. But at Aston Villa, he is like the great hero, the wonder boy, the maestro and redeemer of Premiership dreams and contemplation.
Jack Grealish brought them back to Premier League, and when it appeared that they might be returned to the Championship, his stupendous play ensured that The Claret and Blue would live to scrap amongst the best for at least another season. Yet during the summer transfer window, the club was active, while not selling Grealish, and as the second international break is now upon us, the team is not just surviving, but winning.
With these innovations obvious, and more seemingly inevitable should the good play continue, it becomes a serious question as per why Grealish would leave at all? Villa is making a stronger case by the week.
Jack Grealish: Helping to make the case for remaining at Aston Villa for the foreseeable future
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With the loan for Ross Barkley working out splendidly for Dean Smith, and the transfer for Emi Martiniez from Arsenal a fantastic innovation in net, Villa is not without consideration if not this season, in the next several, to find success that could put them into the Europa League; that is, should their centerpiece remain.
Jack Grealish is no joke and his services will likely continue to attract the biggest purses in football today. Whether those clubs and coaches can be starved off by Villas own continued growth and success is something that will have to be seen to be believed, but a longer stay in the highest tier of English football could mean more time to acquire resources for the purpose of properly challenging for higher levels and even hardware. Grealish is simultaneously helping both of the aforementioned, yet that success could ultimately see him depart the club, creating the most detrimental innovation possible in a twist of irony.
Yet as mentioned, why would anyone want to leave a club in which they are held in such esteem? He, should Villa be able to grow and compete, will be held in the same regards as names from across english football history, from Big Duncan Ferguson at Everton, to Frank Lampard and John Terry at Chelsea, as well as his contemporary, Jaime Vardy at Leicester City. Others will and have succeeded since those names found glory for their clubs, yet none will forget their accomplishments all the same. Jack, the captain as it were, is headed towards that same place, but he needs not only help, but persistence as well.
Persistence and Ambition: How a Legend is Created
Winning championships and silverware is usually one of the fastest ways to find yourself remembered for the sport you participate in. Yet the most special players have a romantic quality to their careers; the romantic quality of Messi’s career at Barcelona is much more in this vein than say, Cristiano Ronaldo’s, whose career imitates Lebron James’s more than Kobe Bryant’s.
And that does matter. For a narrative sense, not an individual sense, the former is more storybook in its quality and composition. The mercenary, the hitman, is never as beloved in the book as the noble one who remains in one place for an extended period of time, etc. While it may not at first feel as though this plays a part in determining legacies, in some sports anyway, when one considers the notion further, the romantic qualities, as I call them, of a players career is crucial towards external perceptions of that player.
This is essentially the decision Jack Grealish still has to make; does he go somewhere and win with a bunch of great players at a club just brimming with resources? Or does he stay at his club and become a part of the pantheon of legendary Lions that have played before? The choice is as personal as likely any he will make to be sure, yet it will impact not only himself and the club, but his teammates and the entire community in Birmingham and around England, Europe and the world who support them and Jack in particular.
And it is no easy choice either, but one that will help to tell the story of the player once the book of his career has been written and signed. We should marvel and celebrate the career as its going on but it is human nature to look towards the future, the potentials and ambitions of life. Jack Grealish will be remembered as a great footballer at this rate, it is quite likely, but should he bring success to Aston Villla, his legend will far surpass most for the romantic quality it conjures when mentioned forever after.