Aston Villa pulled off something of a great escape this season.
Dean Smith’s side spent 144 days in the bottom three prior to their win over Arsenal in the final week of the campaign.
A draw with West Ham United on the final day of the season ensured their survival and they are now again planning for life in the top-flight.
They will need to keep some of their major stars, though, if they are to have any hope of again avoiding the drop.
Jack Grealish was, of course, a genuine force of nature for the club throughout the season.
He captained his boyhood club and made 36 appearances for Smith’s men, scoring eight goals and registering six assists.
That included a goal against the Hammers on the final day and he is now being linked with a mega-money exit.
Manchester United have been heavily linked with a potential move, but it would cost something of a fortune.
Villa are said to have placed an £80 million asking price on the head of their prized asset, and it remains to be seen if they will be able to secure his signature and also sign Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho, who is widely reported to be another target.
As a result, his options may be dwindling.
Indeed, Tottenham Hotspur expressed an interest in Grealish back in 2018, though a £25 million deal fell through.
And Darren Bent, the former Spurs striker, has told the attacking midfielder that Spurs may be his only option in the summer transfer window.
Speaking to Football Insider, he said: “You start looking about and I’ve had this discussion with so many different people, it’s where does he go?
“He’s not going to go to Manchester United because they’ve got Fernandes and Pogba and I know you need a squad but even at the minute it looks like they’re hell-bent on getting Jadon Sancho so he’s not going to go there.
“Manchester City, they don’t need him – they’ve got Foden and their squad is very, very good, they just don’t need him. Liverpool don’t need him, where’s he going to go there? They’ve already got their front three and midfield set.
“He’s not going to go to Chelsea, could he go to Leicester? Well they’ve got Maddison so you’d probably say not so the only club I can see him at is Tottenham – now they didn’t want to pay the £25million years ago so are they going to pay £60-70million? I can’t see it.
“Honestly, at the minute he needs to weigh up and think about where he’s going to go – he could stay at Villa where he’s the captain, the main man and his boyhood club and he knows he’d be a god if he was to stay.”
GIVEMESPORT’S Harry Sherlock says…
This feels like a spot-on assessment from Bent.
United probably don’t have the money to sign both Sancho and Grealish but Spurs are unlikely to have the funds required to meet Villa’s asking price.
The horse may well have bolted in terms of his possible move, and the Englishman would be well served by staying at the club.
As Bent suggests, he would become a legend at the club if he remained, and he may be key to keeping his club in the top-flight in 2020/21.
It may not be a matter of choice, ultimately, especially if there simply aren’t any bids tabled for him.
Remaining in Birmingham seems like Grealish’s destiny at this point.News Now - Sport News