Aston Villa will not be bullied over their £80m valuation of Jack Grealish – even if the club loses its survival fight.
The Birmingham club is facing a battle to retain the services of the talismatic home-grown playmaker ahead of the next campaign.
Regardless of whether Villa win the right to stay in the Premier League, Manchester United have now started their background checks on the 24-year-old.
That strengthened rumours that Grealish remains top of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s wanted list this summer, despite the negative publicity that surrounded the behaviour of Villa’s skipper during the COVID-19 lockdown.
But his employers remain committed to keeping Grealish and see him as part of their plans if they stay in the Premier League.
The situation is muddied should the Villa drop into the Championship. The expectation is that the boyhood fan will ask to move on for the sake of his career.
However, the former European Champions remain in a strong position due to owners Nassef Sawaris and Wes Edens.
The duo boast a combined wealth approaching £12bn and cannot be browbeaten into letting Grealish leave on the cheap.
Clubs relegated from the Premier League face a huge financial hit and Villa, who spent heavily to get there, will be carrying significant contractual overheads.
But the club remains steadfast that they will not be hammered down from what they see as a fair market value.
Even though Grealish has not yet started a game for England, the Midlands’ club view his valuation as being on a par with Harry Maguire and will stick to their guns however this disrupted campaign pans out.