Jack Grealish, Aston Villa’s captain fantastic and survival saviour, continues to attract transfer attention from some of the country’s biggest clubs.
Villa owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens are said to have slapped an £80 million price tag on the 24-year-old playmaker after he fired Villa to safety on the final day against West Ham.
Manchester United have long held an interest in Grealish, with Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer keen to add to his pool of top young talent.
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Solsjkaer’s interest appears to have cooled in light of Villa’s lofty valuation, although former United winger Ryan Giggs fanned the transfer flames with his recomendation.
Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal have also been credited with an interest in the Solihull whizz.
Grealish impressed all season long upon his and Villa’s return to the Premier League, scoring eight goals and registering six assists.
Rumours about his future atVillacontinue to swirl – and here’s everything that has been said so far…
The latest update
Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs thinks his old side should sign Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish and Jadon Sancho of Borussia Dortmund this summer.
The pair have been heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford with reports claiming that Sancho is a priority for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The form of Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba could prompt a rethink from United’s transfer chiefs in terms making a move for another playmaker and a winger in Sancho’s mould could become a more desirable player.
Nevertheless Giggs thinks Grealish, who has reportedly been valued at £80 million by Villa, would be an ideal signing for his old side.
A pundit’s perspective
Pundit Don Hutchison thinks Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish would be a good signing for Arsenal.
The Gunners were linked with a move for the 24-year-old earlier this week, with Sky Sports claiming they had registered an interest in signing Grealish.
However, further claims were made that Mikel Arteta’s side haven’t followed up their initial enquiry.
Grealish has been heavily linked with a move away from Villa and now that he has kept his side in the Premier League those rumours are starting to intensify.
What Arsenal fans have said
Arsenal fans are all saying the same thing about Jack Grealish’s cryptic tweet.
The Aston Villa captain took to social media on Thursday and posted a picture of himself celebrating his goal in the 1-1 draw with West Ham United last weekend, a goal that secured survival for his club.
In the picture, he is sticking his fingers in his ears and he posted the snap without any caption.
His message comes after Arsenal became the latest club linked with a move for Grealish.
What Jack Grealish has said
Grealish delighted many Villa fans with one of his social media posts this week.
On Twitter he posted a photo of him with his fingers in his ears as if to say he was blocking out all the noisy transfer speculation. If ever a picture said a thousand words.
The post came after Grealish had emphasised in a tweet just how much Villa’s survival meant to him.
“What a day,” he wrote on Sunday. “Keeping my club in the premier league for another year. MY club.”
What Dean Smith has said
Head coach Dean Smith spoke about Grealish’s future just moments after he guided Villa to safety.
After the West Ham heroics, the pair headed off for the team’s survival party at The Belfry – and here’s what Smith said.
“He goes out and gets drunk with me, that’s what happens now. Then, tomorrow, I’ll sit down with the owners and the chief exec.”
Asked if Villa can keep hold of their star player, Smith added: “No idea. Like I said, I’ll get drunk with him. I’m certainly hopeful. He’s contracted for another three or four years.
“I’ve said many times before, we’ve got billionaire owners and, for clubs to get the best players, they cost an awful lot of money.
“He’s an Aston Villa fan and he’ll be immensely proud he scored the goal today because he managed to keep us in the Premier League.”
The club’s strategy
Selling Grealish, the club’s best player, doesn’t tally with the grand vision owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens have in mind.
Survival alone wasn’t enough for the club’s money men. They want more, as evidenced by the departure of Jesus Garcia Pitarch (Suso) and the arrival of a new sporting director in the shape of former Wolves assistant boss Johan Lange.
“We’re pleased to welcome Johan to Aston Villa as we continue building a world-class organisation,” Sawiris and Edens said in a joint statement.
“This past season we were able to navigate a very difficult transition into the Premier League and are happy with the effort to stay up. But we will not be satisfied until we achieve our goal of bringing sustainable success to Aston Villa at the top tier of European football.
“We’ve made some significant strides in building an organisation and culture that will sustain success. We made significant investments into our academy programme by upgrading our facilities and bringing in a talented leadership team. We have also significantly invested in our women’s team who achieved promotion to the top tier of women’s football.
“This is a great opportunity to improve our football operations. We’re excited to work directly with Johan and the team to strengthen our analytics, sports science, talent recruitment and player development programmes.”
What his team-mates think
England international Tyrone Mings could hardly have been any more glowing in his praise for the midfielder, Villa’s go-to man when the chips were down.
On Grealish’s Premier League lifeline goal, Mings said: “It was reminiscent of Birmingham at St Andrew’s last season, when you need big players need to step up, they usually do.