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Dublin: 9°C Wednesday 12 May 2021

United and other suitors 'can keep looking but they can't touch' Grealish

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith is aware of the admiring glances being cast in Jack Grealish’s direction.

Aston Villa's Jack Grealish.
Aston Villa's Jack Grealish.
Image: Paul Harding

MANCHESTER UNITED AND Tottenham can look at Jack Grealish as much as they want, says Aston Villa boss Dean Smith, but Premier League rivals have been warned they cannot touch the midfielder during the January transfer window.

Speculation continues to suggest that the 24-year-old will be the subject of a big-money bid at some stage.

Spurs tried hard to lure the Villa academy graduate away from his boyhood club back in the summer of 2018. No deal was done then and Grealish has since stepped up onto a Premier League stage with his current employers.

He has registered eight goals and six assists across 21 outings in the 2019-20 campaign, with his stock continuing to rise.

Grealish is among those pushing for a place in England’s squad for Euro 2020, but may need a move in order to force his way into Gareth Southgate’s plans.

A role may be found for him at Old Trafford, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer considered to be in the market for more creative flair.

Villa, though, have no intention of parting with a prized asset as they battle to cement their standing back among the elite.

Smith has sought to make that clear again with another window open, with the boss happy for his players to attract admiring glances as long as interest goes no further.

He told reporters when quizzed again on Grealish’s future: “I think he’s a big target for many teams and you can see why.

“He’s a top player but as I’ve said before, our owners are very ambitious and want to establish us as a top Premier League club.

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“To do that you have to keep your best players, so we’ll be keeping hold of Jack Grealish. People can keep looking but they can’t touch.”

Grealish was among the goals in his most recent outing for Villa, as they collected a much-needed 2-1 win over Burnley.

That success has lifted Smith’s side out of the drop zone, but they are only one point clear of Bournemouth and have much to do over 17 games if they are to avoid slipping straight back through the trapdoor and into the Championship.

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