Why Man Utd must forget about Maddison and sign Jack Grealish
Manchester United have identified James Maddison and Jack Grealish as top January transfer targets. With Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay injured, United have concerns in the midfield to begin 2020.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer recently stated that United were looking at “one or two” January additions, and it appears their targets are also Premier League players.
Manchester United are prioritizing a move either for Leicester City’s Maddison or Aston Villa’s Grealish, according to the Independent. United are looking to find greater consistency in the second half of the Premier League season, although they sit fifth in the table.
Grealish has provided five assists in the Premier League this campaign while netting six times. Maddison also has six goals, but only three assists.
Solskjaer’s side were sorely lacking creativity on Wednesday night as they fell to a 2-0 defeat away to Arsenal, with Jesse Lingard deployed as an attacking midfielder ahead of Fred and Nemanja Matic.
United can call upon Andreas Pereira and Juan Mata, both of whom featured as substitutes against Arsenal but the club certainly need greater quality in the midfield. The problem caused by Pogba’s injury is compounded by an injury to Scott McTominay. The 23-year-old midfielder has suffered a ligament injury that might keep him out of action for a couple of months, perhaps longer.
That leaves United with Fred, Nemanja Matic and Andreas Pereira. Matic’s contract is due to end when the season finishes and while Fred has improved, he remains a limited player and is yet to justify his price tag.
Meanwhile, Pereira has demonstrated why former boss Jose Mourinho was so reluctant to give him time on the pitch.
Grealish has been a pivotal figure in Aston Villa’s midfield this season and the 24-year-old has registered six goals and five assists in 21 appearances so far. Similarly, Maddison has delivered several impressive performances for Leicester City this term and has scored six goals with three assists in 20 games. But both options will not come cheap for United in January as Grealish is integral to Villa’s survival hopes, while Maddison is under contract with Leicester until June 2023.
Grealish began the season on the left of a three-man central midfield – a role he thrived in during Aston Villa’s promotion campaign. But the 24-year-old found it more difficult to dictate matches from that deeper position in the same way as in the Championship.
Grealish’s ability to take on opponents was restricted and he was sometimes guilty of losing the ball inside his own half. Smith, therefore, decided to sacrifice one of his orthodox wingers to accommodate the mercurial midfielder as part of a front three.
It risked unbalancing his side but it has proven to be a strategic switch that has helped both the player and the team. Maddison, like Grealish, can be deployed on the left as an inverted wide man but he is less influential from that position than the Villa captain.
Grealish has been more effective at creating chances from open play this term and he draws almost twice as many fouls. But in other areas such as picking out team-mates inside the box, Maddison boasts a better return.
Maddison has been influential to Leicester’s success this season but signing Jack Grealish would take United’s attack to another level. He is smooth on the ball and creates a lot of chances.
With attackers like Rashford, Martial and James, the United attack would thrive alongside Jack Grealish. Thus, the Red Devils must go all out in January and sign the Aston Villa midfielder.