Aston Villa are prepared to force any of the admirers of attacking midfielder Jack Grealish pay a new British record fee to sign the 25-year-old.
Grealish already sits on five goals and six assists from just nine Premier League games this season, and that form has seen him finally make his breakthrough into Gareth Southgate’s starting lineup for England.
He was valued at closer to £70m during the summer, but after they did not receive any real offers, Villa tied Grealish down to a new five-year contract, and The Telegraph state that his new deal has bumped his value up to over £100m.
Villa have no plans to offload Grealish whatsoever and see him as an integral part of their future, and the club’s wealthy owners believe there is no need to cash in on a player of his calibre unless the offer is too good to turn down.
For Villa to contemplate his departure, any suitor would have to shatter the transfer record for a British player. Gareth Bale remains the most expensive Brit at £89m, while Harry Maguire’s £80m move to Manchester United set a record for an English player.
In terms of potential buyers, it was United who were linked Grealish during the summer, while cross-town rivals Manchester City have also been tipped to move for the Englishman.
A price tag of over £100m means a January transfer is almost certainly off the table, and a summer move could hinge on whether Villa manage to secure a place in the top half of the Premier League.
Villa have been keen to prove their intent ever since they returned to the top flight by splashing the cash in the transfer market. Ollie Watkins, Emiliano Martinez, Matty Cash and Bertrand Traore were all expensive arrivals, while Ross Barkley’s loan move from Chelsea also represented something of a coup.
Keeping Grealish would be the most important thing for Villa, and by slapping him with a price tag of at least £100m, they will likely be able to scare off any interested sides.