Jack Grealish is much admired by Pep Guardiola and Man City
Credit: GETTY IMAGES
Aston Villa are very hopeful that Jack Grealish will sign a new contract at the club this summer which will end any discussion of a move away for the England international in the near future.
There has been growing interest in Grealish throughout the year with a figure of £100 million estimated as the transfer fee, although it has never been the intention of Villa to sell. His weekly basic wage before bonuses is estimated to be around £100,000-a-week and any new deal would likely increase that baseline to around £150,000-a-week.
The Villa ownership have always made clear in private that they are serious about keeping their best player, a homegrown prodigy who has been at the club since the age of six, and the wealth of the individuals involved at Villa means that the offer of a British record transfer fee would not necessarily be decisive.
Grealish signed a new contract at the club in September which secures his future until 2025 and an improved deal would likely extend that for at least one year.
There has been much discussion of a £100m buyout clause in the latest deal agreed between club and player although neither side have ever confirmed its existence. Any new deal would not have a buyout clause.
A new contract for Grealish would be a clear line in the sand that the club are not prepared to sell their best talent. Grealish was hours away from joining Tottenham Hotspur in 2018 before the takeover of the club by American investor Wes Edens and his business partner Nassef Sawiris, an Egyptian billionaire. Since then Grealish has signed two new deals that have made him the best-paid player at the club.
Manchester City’s interest in the player has been the key feature of the uncertainty around his future at Villa. While the player is much admired by Pep Guardiola and his star player Kevin De Bruyne, the signing of Grealish would be a very expensive and potentially difficult deal for the Premier League champions to complete.
In the meantime Villa have made a positive start to the summer market with the club-record signing of Spanish midfielder Emi Buendia from Norwich City for £33 million. Buendia was told that the club see him as ideally compatible with Grealish.
Grealish turns 26 in September and has become a regular for England within the last 12 months. Villa are ambitious to move on from their 11th place finish last season and push for European football, an aim to which Grealish would be key.
Another year at Villa gives both player and club chance to see how far they can go together
Analysis by Sam Wallace
This was always likely to be the summer at which Jack Grealish arrived at the crossroads of his career, but with such wealthy owners at Aston Villa it is the club who control the situation.
The decision to give the 25-year-old a new deal in September has been vindicated by Grealish’s performances over a season in which he has progressed again, in spite of injury problems. Unlike Tottenham Hotspur, who have a disenchanted Harry Kane to mollify, there are more years on Grealish’s contract and tangible ambition at the club for the 2021/22 season. Villa have an experienced manager in place and the signing of Buendia was a sign that they are prepared to invest in the future.
If Grealish was serious about leaving the club then signing a contract until 2025 in a depressed pandemic-hit transfer market, which has even the wealthiest ownerships thinking twice about big transfer fees, has greatly diminished those chances.
In his public remarks the Villa academy boy has always been open about his intention to join Spurs in 2018. That deal was abandoned when the club was bought by the current ownership.
Since then the development of Villa as a stable Premier League club has been significant, and their ambitions of playing in European competition match with that of their star player.
Selling Grealish this summer would not make sense to Villa, and incentivising him with a new deal would at least give both parties space. Naturally Grealish wants to play Champions League football and another year with Villa – on a bigger salary package – would give him and the club the opportunity to see how far they might go together.