Manchester United look set to miss out on a “breathtaking” player who they were heavily linked with last summer.
The Red Devils’ interest in Jack Grealish had been much talked about throughout the previous campaign – but the only midfield addition ended up being Donny van de Beek, who barely played last season.
A year on, United’s neighbours Man City are the favourites to sign the Aston Villa skipper – although uncertainty remains over the England star’s future, with Dean Smith’s side understandably keen to keep their prized asset.
Either way, United legend Rio Ferdinand can’t see his former club landing Grealish, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side “stacked” in the positions he plays.
But Ferdinand is adamant that the Villa star would improve United – and says the Premier League giants have a “big decision to make”, with Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial both having been tipped for the Old Trafford exit door.
Jack Grealish has been linked with a transfer this summer
“I would love him to join Manchester United, obviously. But I just feel that the position that he plays is stacked,” Ferdinand told the FIVE YouTube channel.
“Bruno [Fernandes] in a ten, [Marcus] Rashford’s on the left, [Anthony] Martial is there, [Paul] Pogba is there. It kind of rules Manchester United out unless they say, ‘no, we’re going to shift a player or two to get him’.
“That’s the big decision they have to make.”
Pogba is being targeted by Paris Saint-Germain after rejecting the offer of a new deal at United, while there has been speculation Martial could be on his way out this summer as Solskjaer sharpens up his attack.
If those two players were to leave, based on Ferdinand’s assessment it would open up the chance for United to try and beat their rivals to Grealish’s signature.
And the former Red Devils defender said the England man would offer something different to Fernandes.
“He’s different, he runs with the ball,” Ferdinand said. “Bruno doesn’t run.”
Rio Ferdinand gave his verdict on where Jack Grealish will end up
But the former Red Devils defender believes if any team is going to prise him away from his boyhood club, it will be Pep Guardiola’s side.
“If he’s going to go anywhere, I think it will be Man City. He would add to that team,” Ferdinand said, adding that Liverpool and Chelsea should also try and hijack the Citizens’ pursuit of the 25-year-old.
“Does he improve every team in the Premier League? Yes he does, end of argument. He improves every team,” he said.
Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba have both been linked with Man Utd exits
(Image: Getty Images)
“If I’m Liverpool, I’m going to get him. If I’m Man City, I’m taking him. Because he improves them.
“He improves Chelsea, 100%. Whoever’s got the money to pay for him, do it.
“If Liverpool bought him it would be a bolt out of the blue. He improves them and then it’s like, ‘wow’.”
Ferdinand added: “There aren’t many breathtaking footballers around any more who produce breathtaking moments and make you go, ‘wow, that was crazy’.
“Jack Grealish does that. He’s just a phenomenal player.”
Do you want an exclusive pre-season preview of YOUR club – both in your inbox and through your letterbox? Head over here to find out more and secure your copy.