Fernandes has had 2,107 touches in the Premier League this season, less than only Harry Maguire in the United squad, while only Matt Targett has managed more than Grealish’s 1,431 for Villa, even though the skipper’s missed the last three games due to injury.
Like Fernandes at United, Grealish is absolutely pivotal to Villa’s build-up play and their progression of the ball through midfield and into attack. He’s arguably as good a ball carrier as any.
He’s also a great chance creator, with only Fernandes (17) and Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City (15) creating more ‘big’ chances this season than Grealish, who has racked up 14.
To put them in the same team would mean having to ask one or the other to see less of the ball, something neither Grealish or Fernandes particularly appear like they’d be keen on doing.
Rightly so, too, as they’re both more than good enough to be the central figures in a team. There’s every chance they could find a system to play together given their quality but in United’s plans, Grealish would be a square peg into a round hole, albeit a square peg with glorious finesse and technique.
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Don’t forget United are still seeking to introduce Donny van de Beek too, who isn’t quite the same kind of ball carrier but needs to see a fair amount of possession to be at his most effective.
That means it’s a role United already have the men for, and given Grealish would cost upwards of £60million to £70million even in a coronavirus-impacted transfer market, any deal wouldn’t make much sense.