Former Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor has tipped Jack Grealish to snub a move to Man Utd to stay with his boyhood club this summer.
The 24-year-old was enjoying an impressive campaign prior to the suspension of the season, bagging nine goals and eight assists in 31 appearances across all competitions.
As Villa’s captain and biggest talent as he continues to make them tick in the final third as they look to avoid relegation from the Premier League this season, Villa will no doubt be desperate to keep him at the club moving forward.
As noted by the Metro, Man Utd have been heavily linked with a swoop for the talented playmaker this summer, with a £70m swoop specifically touted in the report. In turn, time will tell if Villa successfully fend off that interest.
However, Agbonlahor has had his say on the matter and believes that Grealish will stay, as ultimately things are set up to be built around him at Villa and his connection to the club could be a huge factor. That said, he skates over a potentially very important point, and that’s Dean Smith’s side staying in the Premier League next season.
“I think he will [stay],’ he told the Claret & Blue podcast, as quoted by the Metro in the report above. “I know everyone’s 50/50 but I think he will because the club’s built around him. Villa will stay up and the club will be built around him again. He’s captain and he’s still posting photos of him at the academy when he started when he was six.
“It’s similar to me, I had chances to leave but, when the club means that much to you, the grass isn’t always greener.
“If I was the owner of Aston Villa at the moment, I’d just turn my phone off! If a player who’s so crucial to your team – like Jack is to Aston Villa – to get results, I’m not selling him.
“That’s what I’d do. Fingers crossed he stays. It’s down to him.”
Time will tell if that happens and if Man Utd are forced to look elsewhere, but the appeal of playing for one of the world’s biggest clubs and having a better chance of winning trophies will surely be something that Grealish has to consider closely.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is building a long-term plan for success at Old Trafford and has added real quality in the last two transfer windows, making the Villa captain an ideal fit in that strategy. If they can secure Champions League qualification for next season too, it could tip the balance in their favour if they try to prise Grealish away from Villa this summer.