Sheffield United was taking on Aston Villa in the Premier League when football resumed in 2020 after a long break post covid. Orjan Nyland, Aston Villa’s goalkeeper caught the ball from a freekick and accidentally fell into his goal causing the ball to cross the line. Video replays showed that the ball had clearly crossed the line but Goal Line Technology (GLT) failed to assess the movement of the ball and thus, referee Michael Oliver allowed the play to continue.
The incident became a huge talking point after the game and the company operating the GLT publicly apologized for the error. “There are 7 cameras monitoring the goal but at the time of the incident, they were all being obstructed by the players” reported Hawkeye.
The game ended 0-0 and relegation bound Aston Villa earned 2 crucial points that helped them stay in the Premier League and avoid relegation by just one point.
But what would have happened if that goal was counted, and Aston Villa were relegated?
Let’s take a look.
Aston Villa getting relegated would have meant their biggest star Jack Grealish leaves the club. Grealish had amazed the Premier League with his flair and dribbling abilities and had several clubs seeking his signature. The most notable one being Manchester United. Manchester United were heavily interested in signing Jack Grealish from Aston Villa. With Borrusia Dortmund asking a hefty fee for Jadon Sancho and United unwilling to match it, Grealish would have been available for cheaper if Villa had gotten relegated.
Moreover, Jack Grealish’s past posts on Twitter show his love for ‘The Red Devils’.
With United desperately needing more creativity to ease the load off Bruno’s shoulders, Jack Grealish to United was desired by both parties. Although Man City signed him in 2021 after paying his 100 million release clause, what would have happened if he had joined United with Aston Villa relegated?
With Jack Grealish completing a move to Manchester United, City’s door would have opened for Lionel Messi. Lionel Messi was becoming a free agent that summer and due to all the problems arising in the Barcelona Board, the Argentine was willing to part ways with the club. Both Man City and manager Pep Guardiola were chasing the Argentine to join them. Having worked with each other for 4 years in the past, Pep and Messi were suited for each other and a reunion at City was favoured by the bookies. With one of the best players in the world available for free, Man City would have gone all out to sign Messi especially considering they had lost the Premier League title to Liverpool and fell short in the Champions League.
This would have meant we could have witnessed Ronaldo possibly joining PSG instead of Leo Messi.
Alternatively, CR7 could have joined Manchester United and we would have seen the GOATs battle it out in the Manchester Derby.
This series of events are a great example of the ‘Chain Reaction’. Had the goal been allowed, Aston Villa would have been relegated causing Grealish to join Man Utd. This would have resulted in Leo Messi reuniting with Pep at Man City. Furthermore, Ronaldo would have switched to PSG or made a sensational return to Manchester United thereby concluding a fairytale ending to the Messi-Ronaldo rivalry.