Aston Villa are understood to be adamant that they will accept no less than £80m for midfielder Jack Grealish, even if they find themselves relegated to the Championship.
Manchester United have made Grealish one of their three primary transfer targets for the summer alongside Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho and Birmingham City’s Jude Bellingham, but Villa are not ready to give him up for cheap.
90min understands that United were hoping to secure a cut-price deal if Villa, who currently sit 19th in the Premier League table, are unable to escape the drop, but The Mirror insist that Villa are ready to stand firm on their £80m asking price.
The financial uncertainty of a post-coronavirus world was tipped to have an impact on Grealish’s price tag, while relegation to the Championship usually spells the end for top players at their current club, but it seems as though Villa are ready to ignore everything going on.
There were even suggestions that Grealish’s antics during the break from football – he was caught out at a party despite urging fans to stay home at all costs – may put United off striking a deal, but it has been confirmed to 90min that the Red Devils are undeterred.
It is expected that Grealish would ask to leave Villa Park if Dean Smith’s side can’t escape the drop, but it is not thought that Villa would buckle under the pressure. Owners Nassef Sawaris and Wes Edens will likely be able to financially cope with relegation, so selling players is not a necessity.
However, keeping Grealish could come with its own issues. The Championship are expected to introduce a wage cap for next season which would punish teams for having a wage of over around £20m, and any side who exceeds that cap would be restricted to signing players to a wage of £10,000-a-week.
While keeping Grealish is obviously high on Villa’s agenda, whether they would be willing to do so at the expense of the rest of their squad is a different question entirely.
Villa are currently two points adrift from safety in the Premier League, although they do have a game in hand over the rest of their competition.
Should the season be cancelled, a points-per-game system would see the Villans relegated, and with the FA determined not to scrap relegation under any circumstances, Smith’s men will likely have to play their way out of trouble if they want to stay up.