When it comes to switching clubs, players aren’t just tempted by money, ambition or the project.
In fact, the prospect of developing under a particular manager is enough to sway a player’s opinions, and in the past decade, there’s been one tactical mastermind which seemingly everyone would like to play under.
Pep Guardiola‘s incredible accomplishments at Barcelona saw him earn recognition as a world-class manager, and his possession-based style of play became the top standard.
His term at Bayern further solidified his reputation, and now at Manchester City, the Spaniard has essentially established a dynasty.
A perfectionist at his core, carrying, at times, an obsessive eye for detail, the Spaniard can truly transform a player.
So when City came calling with a £100m offer, Jack Grealish paid close attention. Unfortunately, his debut season hasn’t lived up to the massive price tag.
Many fans have suggested that the England international has looked like a shadow of himself at times, and now, Grealish himself has offered some insight into his performances this season.
Speaking in an interview during City’s title celebrations, the 26-year-old said, “I feel like sometimes because Pep doesn’t want you to lose the ball, in my head I’m thinking I can’t lose the ball”.
When asked if he has played safe at times, Grealish agreed and pointed toward his performance at West Ham. After grabbing a goal, Grealish gained confidence and grew in the game, which he noticed as well.
His comments offer perspective into how playing under Pep can shape up to be. While his setups allow for wide switches and plenty of slick passing, the notion of holding onto possession constantly can often be a burden.
In Grealish’s case, this is especially true, during his time at Villa, the forward was known for attempting brave take-ons, despite the prospect of giving away possession. And evidently, adapting to a new philosophy has taken the Englishman a bit of time.
Hopefully, Grealish will now have the clarity required to really come into his element next season and nail down a starting spot in City’s XI.