Manchester City are reportedly ready to smash the all-time Premier League transfer record in order to land Aston Villa attacking midfielder Jack Grealish.
The 25-year-old had another superb season for his boyhood club, scoring six goals and creating ten assists in the league despite being ruled out with injury for three months towards the end of the campaign.
And his impressive showings have seen him called up to the England squad, where he came on as a substitute in the Three Lions’ 0-0 draw with Scotland on Friday for his first appearance of the Euros.
Grealish has long been linked with a move away from Villa, and there was big speculation that he could join Manchester United last summer.
But according to The Telegraph it is their cross-city rivals City whose interest is most firm this time around.
And they claim that the club are so desperate to get their man that they are willing to go above the £90m United spent in 2016 to make Paul Pogba the most expensive signing of all time by an English team.
Grealish signed a new five-year contract with Villa just last year, with the deal running until 2025.
And for that reason there is no chance he would come cheap, with Villa in no need to sell and no doubt desperate to keep their prize asset.
It is no secret that City manager Pep Guardiola is a huge fan of Grealish, so it is little wonder that he appears to be their No.1 target this summer.
Speaking after a game between City and Villa in October, Guardiola said: “He’s incredible. A top player. I’m happy he stayed in the Championship to defend his club when he could have gone.
“He’s a talented player who always creates something. An exceptional player but too expensive for Manchester!”
And in the New Year he was once again quizzed about the player, and added: “He’s an exceptional player, I didn’t know him before I came here, he was playing in the Championship. Honestly, an exceptional player.
“They have one of the best players in the league in Jack Grealish.”
Meanwhile, there has been a huge amount of clamouring for Grealish to start for England, and Gareth Southgate was once again forced to answer questions about why he was only a substitute again against Scotland.
The England boss said: “You can see Jack Grealish’s ability to take players on one on one. I felt the team that started against Croatia deserved to go again so we have to review now and make the right decision for the Czech Republic game.
“The games are intense and you have fresh legs to bring into play, we have a squad and have to use it. We took the captain Harry Kane off but the types of players on the bench, we have to use them.
“We have to look at how we operated in the final third, there was little space. A little bit of anxiety as the game went on because of the desire to win.
“We will see how the other groups play out to see if we already have enough to need more.”