Arsenal should be bold and go after Jack Grealish.
Arsenal have reportedly been offered the transfer of Barcelona misfit Philippe Coutinho, and he’s certainly the kind of big name we’d all have dreamed of signing just a few years ago.
Now, however, the Brazil international has majorly flopped at Barca and on loan at Bayern Munich this season, with his career going badly downhill since he left Liverpool.
A report from the Sun claims Barcelona are now looking for buyers for their expensive flop and have offered him to both Arsenal and Chelsea for just £75million, a big loss on what they paid Liverpool for him in January 2018.
It remains to be seen if we’ll take up this offer, but it seems pretty clear that it’s a big risk, even if his asking price has been slashed somewhat. Quite simply, we shouldn’t be in the business of picking up outcasts from big clubs, which rarely works. Recent examples for us would include Henrikh Mkhitaryan, David Luiz and Stephan Lichtsteiner – experienced players who’d picked up numerous major honours at big clubs, yes, but all arriving at Arsenal while they were on the way down.
Coutinho looks similar in that respect – it’s hard to believe he’s got time to turn things around and get back to being the player who lit up the Premier League with Liverpool.
Instead, we need to be competing for the best names on the market, which means bagging a player just on his way to his prime years.
According to the Daily Star, Jack Grealish could leave Aston Villa for around £70m in the next transfer window, so he’d still be cheaper than Coutinho, even though he’s younger and has been in the form of his life this season. The Athletic claim Manchester United are making him one of their priority targets, with their report stating they even prefer him to Leicester City’s James Maddison.
It’s easy to see Grealish being a great fit at Man Utd, especially given their current needs, but we could really do with joining the running for this signing too, with Grealish potentially an ideal addition to come in as a long-term replacement for Mesut Ozil and give us a bit more in the final third after a slow start this season from last summer’s big signing Nicolas Pepe.
Without Champions League football, it won’t be easy persuading a talent like Grealish to join us, but we have to have that kind of ambition, and must still believe that the red and white of Arsenal and the cannon on the chest is still a big lure.
In Mikel Arteta we also have one of the most promising young managers in the game, and one can only wonder how much the Spaniard could do to improve Grealish and fine-tune his game to make him the world beater he’s capable of being. After all, United might not be able to offer Champions League football either, and many of their recent big-name signings have flopped spectacularly at Old Trafford, with some then improving again immediately after leaving – a warning for Grealish to take note of!
There’s no reason to think we can’t compete for a deal like this, and we should absolutely do our best to go after players like this rather than settle for someone like Coutinho.