Sunday 19 May 2019

Spurs to test stricken Villa's resolve with Grealish bid

Jack Grealish. Photo: Alex Pantling/Getty Images
Jack Grealish. Photo: Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Matt Law

Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy is set to test crisis club Aston Villa's insistence they will not sell Jack Grealish for under £40m by making a bid for the midfielder.

Manager Mauricio Pochettino has identified Grealish as a prime summer target and Spurs want to move quickly to take advantage of Villa's money problems.

The Championship club will have to cash in on Grealish this summer after failure to win promotion to the Premier League left them in a financial mess.

Levy believes he can get Grealish for as little as £15m, despite Villa's attempts to stress they will not sell their prized asset on the cheap to ease their plight.

That could make negotiations strained, but Levy will know that Villa are not in a strong position to stick to their guns having only just staved off the immediate threat of administration by settling their bill tax bill.

Pochettino has been hugely successful developing young talent and thinks he can groom Grealish's talent in the same way he has with Dele Alli.

Grealish is close friends with Dele and, although he is a boyhood Villa fan, the 22-year-old is likely to find the prospect of joining Tottenham and working under Pochettino appealing.

He has already been linked with Manchester United, Newcastle United and Leicester City, but Tottenham have jumped to the front of the queue for Grealish in the last couple of days.

With Mousa Dembele's future in doubt and Harry Winks missing a long period of last season through injury, Pochettino wants to strengthen his midfield options and also considering a bid for Anthony Martial, who seems set to leave Manchester United.

United manager Jose Mourinho, meanwhile, is now unlikely to sign a left-back in this transfer window as he concentrates on securing a back-up for Romelu Lukaku.

United have had long-standing interest in both Sandro of Juventus and Celtic's Kieran Tierney and, with Luke Shaw having repeatedly struggled to assert himself, Mourinho had been expected to push for an upgrade.

However, he is learning towards giving Shaw another chance to challenge Ashley Young for the left-back position.

While he has other striker options, Mourinho wants a player who is more like-for-like and can offer the same physicality as Lukaku and is weighing up a bid for either West Ham United's Marko Arnautovic or Mario Mandzukic of Juventus.

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