Tottenham Hotspur fans have been pretty confident that Aston Villa are going to have to sell their star midfielder Jack Grealish this summer. Now Villa’s manager is saying it too. In an interview with Villa boss Steve Bruce, Sky Sports understands that Bruce is resigned to the fact that Villa’s financial situation makes it all but inevitable that Grealish, as well as Villa’s other top talents, will be sold this summer. Bruce called Grealish’s sale “inevitable.”
“The first thing before we go into anything is that we have to address is Financial Fair Play - forget everything else for the moment. Financial Fair Play has to be addressed whether the owner has got any money or not, so we have to try and put that in place if we possibly can.
“Obviously, the owner has put out a statement. I had a conversation with him four or five days ago where I issued my commitment to the club, and to him, where I said: ‘We’re up against it, let’s be open and honest, we might have to make decisions that might not be easy, we have to generate some money’.
”Inevitably that is going to be player sales. There are going to be people that I do not want to sell - and the obvious one is Jack [Grealish] - but people will know that we have got financial problems and they’ll sit and wait, and wait, till Deadline Day possibly. I hope that doesn’t happen but we’ve got to baton down the hatches and wait for it.”
If you’re someone who thinks that Grealish would be a good addition to Tottenham Hotspur, that’s both good and bad news. Good, because Spurs are the only big club that are anything close to serious about signing Grealish this summer, and because Grealish himself is said to be amenable to a move to North London this summer.
But buried in those comments are hints about when we might expect Grealish to actually sign on the dotted line. Since we’re talking about Daniel Levy, that sure does sound like this is a deal that could go down to the wire.
Villa have a budget shortfall of about £40m, and as they’re hoping to finance most of that shortfall by selling Grealish, they’re holding out for a fee of about £30m. Spurs are most certainly going to try and get him for significantly cheaper, which means DANIEL LEVY BRINKSMANSHIP and probably a busy transfer deadline day.
But that’s details. Barring a gazumping, it looks like Grealish will be wearing lilywhite by the end of the season, because Bruce is pretty adamant that he’s going to be sold thanks to the money troubles under former Villa owner Tony Xia.
“There will be nobody feeling sorry for Aston Villa because financially we have got ourselves in a bit of a pickle, so yes we have got to be ready for that.
”I have enjoyed working with Jack, and Jack is the obvious one that clubs [are going to target] because he had a wonderful six months. He reminded everybody as a 22-year-old what a very good player he is. On another day at Wembley (Play-Off final versus Fulham) he could have scored one of the great Wembley goals.
”He is a special talent, a real special talent, and yes, you don’t want to lose him but the inevitable thing is we have to. We have to - to keep the club up and running and keep it in line with Financial Fair Play.”
So watch this space. It’s looking good for Grealish to Spurs as Tottenham have Villa over a barrel, but it may be a while yet before we know for sure.