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Jack Grealish: Manchester City close to £100m transfer agreement with Aston Villa for midfielder

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Man City made £100m offer for Jack Grealish on Friday; Aston Villa offered their captain a new contract; Grealish’s move would eclipse Paul Pogba’s 2016 transfer to Manchester United and become biggest in English football history.

Manchester City are close to agreeing a £100m deal to sign Jack Grealish from Aston Villa.

City submitted their £100m offer on Friday and it is understood Villa are willing to let Grealish leave for the Premier League champions.

Grealish, who was given an extended break after playing for England at Euro 2020, was seen back in training with his Villa team-mates on Monday.

He will now have to decide whether he wants to depart his boyhood club in a move that would represent the biggest transfer in English football history.

The previous record is held by Paul Pogba, who re-joined Manchester United for £93.25m from Juventus in 2016.

Villa did offer Grealish a new and improved contract earlier this summer, despite him signing a five-year deal last September.

Grealish is a Villa academy graduate and has made over 200 appearances for the club, scoring 32 goals.

Grealish’s X-factor and his special appeal

Sky Sports’ Peter Smith…

“Aston Villa supporters have been hailing him for years, celebrating a special talent which had emerged from their youth ranks. It took some time for fans of other clubs to get on board but Jack Grealish and his X-factor has won over all the judges now. At Euro 2020, the sound of England supporters cheering his warm-ups and chanting his name, urging Gareth Southgate to throw him into the action, was the perfect illustration of that.

“He appeared for just 137 minutes at that tournament but he was a major story throughout. His two assists and cameos off the bench were a tantalising glimpse of what England had in the locker and drove the conversation about how they should attack.

Jack Grealish celebrates after England vs Germany
Image:England fans persistently called for Grealish to play at the Euros

“It is that enticing, exciting, game-changing potential which makes him such hot property.

“Inside Wembley this summer, the change in approach from opposition defenders when he came into the game was clear to see. They dropped deeper. They doubled up. They looked nervous and wary of what might come next. It’s a growing trend we’ve seen in the Premier League and Grealish’s skill, Grealish’s reputation has now earned international respect, too.

“That possibility of what Grealish could do at the top end of the Premier League or in the Champions League is clearly a question being pondered at Manchester City. The great Pep Guardiola attracted by the potential of greatness from Grealish.

“But those deep Villa roots mean Grealish won’t be easy to prise away from his hometown club. His iconic status there would be enhanced if he stayed on. It’s a pivotal moment in his career and, just like during the Euros, there is real intrigue with what he does next.”

The view from Villa: You wouldn’t blame Grealish

Sky Sports’ Gerard Brand…

“Of course, if Villa are to lose Grealish, the impact will be felt. The three months without him last season were a worrying case study: Villa won just 21 per cent of their games without, and won 54 per cent with their skipper.

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“But Villa’s glass should remain half full. In NSWE, they have owners clearly willing to make heavy yet sound investments and will have undoubtedly planned for Grealish’s potential exit – the £38m signing of Emi Buendia and interest in Leon Bailey, linked with the Premier League’s elite over the past 18 months, are evidence of that. That should go some way to plugging the creativity gap.

“And although he ended up signing a new deal with Arsenal, the attempt to capture Emile Smith Rowe was still a great show of ambition, given Villa rarely sign assets from big Premier League rivals.

“Villa aren’t new to this. The so-called top six have come calling for their best regularly over the past decade, but unlike when Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph were taken away in 2015, the Villa Grealish might be leaving behind is a strong one. Villa are in the best place they have been since 2010, and the 25-year-old still has a big decision to make.

“At Man City, he is guaranteed trophies, and those questioning how much playing time he will get should remember Pep Guardiola hands out minutes like no other manager in the Premier League. City made 136 changes last season, more than any Premier League side; it’s clear Guardiola doesn’t necessarily need a set XI for success, especially with around 60 games a season to play.

“And those arguing that a trophy with his boyhood club would be sweeter than anything he could achieve at City should remember Villa’s trophy cabinet hasn’t been opened since Grealish was six months old.

“While Villa are on the up, and a City move undoubtedly brings risks, you wouldn’t blame Grealish for backing himself as he approaches his peak years.”

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How AC Milan missed out on Ghanaian youngster Felix Afena-Gyan

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Afena Gyan scores brace for AS Roma against Genoa

Afena-Gyan makes Serie A record

Afena-Gyan valued at €20m

Ghanaian youngster Felix Afena-Gyan may be excelling for AS Roma but he could have ended up at rivals AC Milan.

The youngster has risen from the youth side of the Italian giants and taking a spot on the first team where he is in the process of establishing himself as a key cog in Jose Mourinho’s side.

His two goals in AS Roma’s victory over Genoa made him the first player born in 2003 to score in the Italian top flight league.

It has however emerged that Afena-Gyan was once on the books AC Milan and could have had his development in Milan instead of Rome.

Oliver Arthur, the Ghanaian football agent credited with the discovery of the 18-year-old has revealed that Afena-Gyan had trials with AC Milan who were interested in signing him.

Oliver Arthur says the choice of AS Roma as the club for Afena-Gyan was informed by his quest to get a place where the youngster’s development was not going to be impeded.

“He initially had trials at AS Roma, then Sassuolo before going to AC Milan. Milan, just like the other clubs, was very much interested in him. But, we needed to make a decision and look at the best for the player and we settled on AS Roma,” he said Kumasi-based Pure FM.

Oliver Arthur also spoken about how the youngster’s stock has risen since he broke into the first team of AS Roma.

He disclosed that Afena-Gyan is now valued at €20million following his good display for AS Roma.

“It will really be difficult. Very difficult. Range? May be between €15m-€20m. For what he’s done and the abilities he possesses, I think, yes, €20m” he told Angel TV

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Africa to use VAR in World Cup play-offs after Ghana vs South Africa incident

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Ghana defeats South Africa 1-0

South Africa petitions FIFA over penalty in Ghana game

Senegalese referee to be punished by FIFA, says South Africa coach

The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) will be used in the final phase of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, Gianni Infantino, the President of the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) has said.

Infantino has disclosed that FIFA and CAF will use the technology in the play-off to improve officiating in those matches.

Speaking at the extraordinary general assembly of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in Cairo, Egypt Infantino said FIFA is making efforts to enhance the quality of matches and introduction of VAR is one of the measures.

“The final stage of the African World Cup qualifiers will see an improvement in refereeing performance due to the use of VAR,” said Infantino.

The President of CAF, Patrice Motsepe who is a South African refused to comment on the specific case of Ghana versus South Africa but promised an investment in officiating.

“We are going to invest in the competitions because our competitions are everything,” said Motsepe.

“That’s why the announcement that we are making today regarding referees is critically important. Africa have got good referees, and we have got world-class referees. We’ve also got referees who are not so good.

“Then we’ve also got referees who are even further from not so good, but they all try. We want to train them, and also pay them good money and look after them. So that they can make a career out of being referees.”

Ghana defeated South Africa 1-0 at the Cape Coast Stadium on November 14, 2021 via a controversial penalty.

Defender Daniel Amartey earned Ghana the penalty which was converted by skipper Andre Ayew on the 33rd minute.

South Africa took issues with the decision by referee Ndiaye and petitioned FIFA to probe what they perceive to be match manipulation.

According to SAFA, the referee was compromised and thus ruled the game in favour of the host team.

The Ghana Football Association has meanwhile disputed the claims and emphasized the Black Stars deserved victory.

It is expected FIFA will issue a verdict on the game in the coming days.

The draw for the play-off will be held in January next year after the Africa Cup of Nations.

The ten countries that have qualified include Ghana, Egypt, Algeria, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Mali, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia.

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Forget about replay FIFA, will only ban referee Ndiaye Maguette – Hugo Broos

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It appears that head coach of South Africa, Hugo Broos has given up hope of forcing a replay of the 2022 World Cup qualifier against Ghana from FIFA.

The Black Stars defeated the Bafana Bafana of South Africa by a lone goal to secure the only slot in group G for the play offs of the 2022 World Cup.

South Africa after the game accused the match official of match fixing, match manipulation among others before lodging an official complaint with FIFA.

Ghana had a penalty after Daniel Amartey went to ground in the penalty box following a challenge from Rushine De Reuck although it appeared soft there was a nudge in the back of the Leicester City defender.

The Senegalese referee Ndiaye Maguette who was standing just a few meters outside the penalty box swiftly awarded the penalty without any second thought.

FIFA urged the two Associations that is Ghana and South Africa to present any comments or evidence it deems appropriate latest by 20th November 2021 as they referred the protest to the FIFA Disciplinary Committee who began their work on 23rd November,2021.

FIFA is now due to issue a verdict on that appeal which has created friction between Ghana and South Africa in football circles.

Ahead of the verdict, South Africa’s Belgian tactician doesn’t seem confident.

“Fifa met on Tuesday,” Broos told HLN Sportcast. “We expect a decision in the course of this week. It’s not just about the penalty kick, it’s about the whole game. The referee made 71 decisions, 47 of which were foul. The analysis has shown that. And 90 percent of those 47 wrong decisions were against us.”

“You have to be able to prove something like that in black and white. Was he bribed? Wasn’t he pressured? Or was he just having a really bad day? The numbers are there, but is that enough for FIFA? I personally think that it will remain with a suspension for the referee and that we should not count on a replay.” he said.

The draw for the play offs will come off in January while the matches will be played in March 2022.

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