Jack Grealish’s proposed transfer to Manchester United hangs in the balance after the player broke curfew and allegedly partied all night before crashing his Range Rover into several parked cars.
The Aston Villa man was quick to apologise on social media for his actions but all eyes now will be on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to see whether the incident causes him to drop his pursuit of the talented midfielder.
Grealish was believed to be one of Solskjaer’s top summer transfer targets and it was widely reported that a deal of around £60-£70 million was likely to take place.
However, the Norwegian’s blueprint for rebuilding Manchester United is based around hard work, dedication and character and as such large sections of the press are speculating that he will take a dim view of the 24-year-old’s actions.
The Mirror quotes Solskjaer as saying recently ‘We’ve tried to educate our players and our kids to be proper people.’
‘In my view, the best players have always been the best people.’
‘You have to have that value system and a certain kind of attitude about you to make a United player.’
The Mirror concludes that ‘Grealish is one of Solskjaer’s top targets, but the United boss may now have doubts about such a move, given the importance he places on a player’s integrity.’
Meanwhile, The Mail also notes that Solskjaer recently said ‘When you’re a footballer you should be proper boring.’
‘You go to bed, you rest, you recover and you get ready for the next game. That’s the culture we need to get to.’
‘If you don’t sacrifice, you’re just passing through.’
And the outlet also concludes that ‘against that backdrop, it is not unreasonable to deduce Solskjaer took a dim view of Grealish’s latest alleged public misdemeanour.’
The Athletic’s Gregg Evans, on the other hand, believes that United should overlook the offence, for which Grealish has been fined two weeks’ wages by his club.
‘To be purely judged on this incident would be unfair, though. While his weekend movements are inexcusable … there are dozens of heartwarming stories that paint a very different picture of Grealish’.
‘Unknown to many are his contributions to charities, with regular silent donations. The 24-year-old also often sends signed merchandise to disabled supporters, makes a habit of handing shirts to young supporters and is usually the last player to leave Villa Park after signing autographs for fans outside the North Stand gates.’
‘Staff at Villa speak of a caring captain who has matured over the years and for the past three seasons he has largely let his football do the talking.’
‘The weekend incident also shouldn’t cloud what he has done on and off the pitch to establish himself as one of the Premier League’s top performers.’
Unfortunately for the Villa captain though, it is not the first time that he has been caught misbehaving. In 2015 he was photographed sprawled out on the floor at a party in Tenerife and was also pictured inhaling nitrous oxide, or hippy crack, in the same year. Grealish had according to The Athletic ‘knuckled down and started to rebrand himself’ before this week’s incident undid four years of hard work to shake off his ‘party-boy reputation’.
It seems unlikely that the United boss will heed The Athletic’s plea to overlook the incident. Recent reports of a ‘ruthless’ Solskjaer sacking David de Gea’s mentor and goalkeeping coach Emilio Alvarez for late night drinking during United’s 2019 pre-season tour suggest that as long as the Norwegian remains the Red Devils’ manager, Jack Grealish is highly unlikely to become a Manchester United player.
While football is on lockdown, try your hand at our quiz below that tests your knowledge about the times when Manchester United or its players have been banned, bombed or blocked from playing.