Manchester United have suffered a major blow in their pursuit of Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish.
What’s the story?
The 25-year-old would reportedly prefer to join Premier League champions Manchester City this summer over United after being linked with a move away from his boyhood club, according to The Athletic.
Grealish was the subject of intense interest from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side 12 months ago, but recent claims have suggested that the Norwegian is targeting Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho in the upcoming transfer window.
Fans will be gutted
Although the potential arrival of Sancho would significantly soften the blow of Grealish’s apparent preferences, his desire to move to the Etihad Stadium over Old Trafford will undoubtedly leave many Red Devils supporters gutted.
Grealish has continually impressed for the Villans in recent seasons and just produced the best campaign of his career, bagging six goals and providing 12 assists in just 26 Premier League appearances for Dean Smith’s side.
His impressive performances earned the 25-year-old his first senior England call-up last autumn, where he caught the eye of the Three Lions manager Gareth Southgate.
“Today was a great game for us to see him in. I couldn’t speak highly enough of his performance,” Southgate said after a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Belgium in November.
“I thought Jack Grealish had an absolutely outstanding game. Losing Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford, we lose a lot of speed. But I can’t fault the attacking play until the last chance.
“I saw what I knew I would see from Jack, someone with the bravery to play. He took the ball in tight areas, his technique was good, we knew he would buy a lot of free-kicks. I thought he was outstanding – he should be delighted.”
Grealish signed a five-year contract with Villa after his final day strike against West Ham secured the Midlands’ outfit’s safety last season, meaning that any move for the £58.5m-rated attacker would be an expensive one.
Nevertheless, this latest revelation will come as a blow to United as they aim to build a side capable of challenging for football’s major honours.