The 2019-20 season of the Premier League is set to resume from June 17 after a prolonged suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With 9 games left and Wolves and Sheffield United hard on their heels, Manchester United have to ensure Champions League qualification to entice either of the talented duo, Jack Grealish and Kai Havertz, with a move to Old Trafford.
With Manchester United making way for Paul Pogba to leave the club in the summer transfer window, they will be looking to secure the services of a midfielder to fill the gap left by him. United have not fared well against teams sitting deep and inviting pressure as they struggle to break them down without a tactically astute creative playmaker.
Havertz or Grealish could be the missing piece of the puzzle to make the Red Devils into a consistent outfit, challenging for the top 4 spots in the Premier League and making them serious title contenders in the coming seasons.
Jack Grealish has proven himself to be the key player in Aston Villa’s return to the Premier League, contributing 7 goals and registering 6 assists in 26 appearances. Aston Villa have depended upon the magic of Grealish all too often this season and it is a miracle that they are managing to stay afloat above the relegation places.
With speculation regarding his future at Aston Villa, the attacking midfielder has been linked to United since February as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer views him as a critical signing for the coming season.
However, Bayer Leverkusen playmaker Kai Havertz has expressed his interest in a move away from Die Werkself, with Old Trafford being a prospective destination. Having established himself as a key member of the first-team squad, the 20-year-old has donned the captain’s armband and led the team from the front with his stellar form.
Havertz has chipped in 11 goals and 5 assists in 26 appearances in the Bundesliga, highlighting his incisive build-up play and ability to play in a variety of positions at Bayer Leverkusen.
According to a poll conducted by M.E.N. Sport, United fans were asked which player they would prefer to sign in the summer transfer window. The winner with 59.8 percent of the votes was Kai Havertz, the fans citing the player’s ability to play in several positions, his immense quality as a playmaker, and the fact that he is 4 years younger than Jack Grealish.
On the other hand, Grealish has already proven himself as a player who can adapt and withstand the pressures of playing in the Premier League. With him, United could have an asset who would fit into Ole’s setup without having to readjust his playing style too much.
A look at the numbers, via the 1vs1 website, shows us why Havertz is preferred as the summer signing to the Aston Villa playmaker. The Bayer Leverkusen youngster has the same number of assists as Grealish – 5. However, he has created 23 chances and made 18 key passes as compared to the 13 chances and 8 key passes Grealish has fashioned out.
Another key factor is the pass completion rate wherein Havertz with 86.04% surpasses Grealish with 81.71%. Standing at 189 cm, the German playmaker is also a better player at winning aerial duals and has shown his aerial ability in previous fixtures. A key factor to Havertz outperforming Grealish in these statistics can be the overall team quality and style of play. Bayer Leverkusen is competing with the best for the Champions League positions whereas Aston Villa finds themselves mired in a Premier League relegation battle.
With both players experiencing breakout seasons in their respective leagues, they are both attractive prospects for the United management. Manchester United stand a chance of rebuilding their midfield with some key signings and can challenge for the title in future seasons.
Unfortunately, with finances taking a hit due to the pandemic and any sign of European success looking unlikely, the Red Devils have to ask themselves which signing makes more sense from a financial and tactical perspective.