Jack Grealish is one of Pep Guardiola's main targets
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Aston Villa are in talks with Jack Grealish over a new contract, as Manchester City line up a £100 million record-breaking offer for the England international.
Grealish is one of Pep Guardiola’s main targets as he prepares to defend the Premier League title and City are prepared to make their move when England’s Euro 2020 campaign is over.
The Villa captain, 25, has been admired by Guardiola for some time and City will submit a bid which they hope will make Grealish the most expensive player in English football.
But Villa are determined to keep Grealish at the club and have made initial moves to improve his £125,000-a-week contract, less than a year after he signed a new long-term deal with the club.
Villa have already signed Emiliano Buendia for a club record £33 million this summer, and have also made an ambitious move for Arsenal’s Emile Smith Rowe, with the club’s owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens keen to continue their upward momentum under Dean Smith.
Sawiris and chief executive Christian Purslow held talks with Grealish last summer and persuaded him to stay, with the attacking midfielder subsequently producing his best season in the Premier League.
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Villa finished 11th last season and believe Grealish can help drive them towards possible European qualification if he stays. Smith is also envisaging his team with Grealish in it next season, with all his summer targets identified as playing alongside him.
However, the interest from champions City is genuine and they will be able to offer Grealish the huge incentive of Champions League football.
Despite Grealish’s unquestioned loyalty to the club he joined at the age of six, the lure of European competition will be significant. He will be 26 in September and has still not played in a European game at any level for his club.
City’s pursuit of Grealish will hinge on possible players sales, with Guardiola hopeful of raising funds with the departures of Bernardo Silva, Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez and Aymeric Laporte.
Villa sources have insisted no move to City is imminent and official negotiations between the two clubs have not taken place.
Grealish impressed in England’s victory over the Czech Republic on Tuesday night and could start against Germany next week.