Jack Grealish ‘can go’ with Villa return mooted despite ‘big question’ after Pep Guardiola clash

Lewis Oldham
Man City boss Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola and Jack Grealish have a conversation after the match.

According to reports, Jack Grealish ‘can’ leave Manchester City this summer and a potential return to Aston Villa has been mooted.

Grealish left boyhood club Aston Villa in 2021 as he joined Manchester City in a deal worth around £100m.

Future uncertain

The 2022/23 season was by far Grealish’s best at the Etihad to date as he was one of Man City’s standout performers but this campaign has proven to be more difficult.

The Englishman has been negatively impacted by injuries and the summer arrival of Jeremy Doku as he has only made seven Premier League starts this season.

Grealish returned from injury last weekend as he made a 29-minute cameo appearance off the bench in the 0-0 draw against Arsenal.

Post-match, head coach Pep Guardiola approached Grealish on the pitch and gave the midfielder a dressing down. Richard Keys has since criticised the Spaniard as this act is “all for the cameras”. 

Football Transfers meanwhile have presumably jumped the gun to suggest that Guardiola’s clash with Grealish ‘all but confirms that he can go’ in the summer. 

Former Premier League defender Alan Hutton – who played with Grealish at Aston Villa – thinks Unai Emery’s side would “absolutely” want to re-sign the 28-year-old but he raises one “big question mark” about the proposed transfer.

“Absolutely if the money was right,” Hutton told Villa News when asked if Grealish could return to his former club.

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“You need to remember Manchester City paid £100million for him so they’re going to want a large chunk of that back. Would he come back? Of course, it’s his boyhood club. The big question mark is, is it the same when you do come back?

“I don’t know, that will be something for him to decide. I’m sure he wants to stay at Manchester City, he wants to prove to everybody that he’s more than capable like he did last season. I think at times he’s had competition coming in, he’s had injuries.

“It’s not been the best of seasons for him personally, but he still has a lot to give and I believe he can fit into that team. When you talk about that dressing-down situation, I don’t really like it.

“I understand he’s one of the best coaches in the world and if he’s got something to say he will. If it was me personally, I’d rather have it inside but that’s just my view on it. But I think Jack will want to stay where he is and fight for his place.”

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“I didn’t see it as a public berating…”

Speaking on the dressing down, Chris Sutton has explained why he does not think it was a “big deal”.

“I didn’t see it as such a big deal because he has done it before,” Sutton said via the It’s All Kicking Off podcast. “It’s the end of the game. There’s a real frustration that he may know that yesterday was the day that the title slipped out of City’s hands and he’s a coach.

“I actually watched it back this morning. I’ve watched it a few times. I didn’t see it as a public berating. Maybe I’m going soft. I think it was maybe a misunderstanding that whatever Pep had told Jack Grealish to do, he hadn’t done it.”

He added: “I didn’t see it as a public dressing down and Guardiola trying to embarrass Grealish.”