The closer Liverpool get, the more Grealish will come under scrutiny
By Guest writer, Mon 21 March 2022 15:03
The football community has a tendency to wait with bated breath after a player completes a move to another club which ends up signifying a record transfer fee. Indeed, there seems to be an air of excitement that dominates the narrative in terms of - and one needs to be careful not to be too cynical here - whether a said player will flop after the enormous capital outlay used. It’s a strange phenomenon and perhaps it makes supporters feel slightly better about their own clubs when they get to see the world’s most expensive player battling to live up to expectations. Then again, that is the territory that comes with being at the summit of world football.
Manchester City fans will be all too aware of this particular dance given how often they bring in players who command eye-watering transfer fees. The most recent example is Jack Grealish but the 25-year-old hasn’t yet felt the full force of any pressure attached to poor performances given that City are the favourites to win the Premier League title. The latest football betting odds will provide further proof of this as Pep Guardiola’s men are at 4/9 to win the league.
Furthermore, you won’t find any football betting prediction post that still doesn’t name City as the champions-elect of England so you can understand why Grealish’s performances haven’t yet drawn the full and intense glare of the spotlight.
That could be about to change, however, even if City are still on course to win the league title. Indeed, whilst City look capable of keeping Liverpool at arm's length over the season's run-in, you can be certain that any slip-up that allows the Reds to win the Premier League will mean that a scapegoat is looked for. With this in mind, it doesn't take much imagination to picture who that might be.
Grealish has, after all, only scored twice and assisted as many times since signing for City as the league pauses for the start of the international break at the end of March.
Of course, there is an argument to be made about the perils of putting too much emphasis on numbers and stats alone and even Guardiola has said that City didn't sign Grealish to score 45 goals a season. The Spaniard is right in a sense but is also doing everything he can to manage the weight of expectations on Grealish. The fact of the matter is that the attacking midfielder hasn't been at his devastating best whilst in a City shirt and now that the club finds itself back in the midst of a title race, the heat will be turned up dramatically.
In short, the honeymoon period at the Etihad Stadium is officially over for Jack Grealish with the attacking midfielder’s only option now to deliver goals and assists that match his record-breaking transfer fee. The 25-year-old is more than capable of finding his impressive range under Pep Guardiola, but he will have to do it with a lot more noise around him than when he first arrived in the east of Manchester now that Liverpool have pulled up alongside City again.