Jack Grealish set for £100m move from Aston Villa to Man City

Lukaku tells Inter he wants to move back to Chelsea

Jack Grealish is set to leave Aston Villa for Manchester City. Photo: Richard Heathcote/PA Wire

Jack Grealish is set to leave Aston Villa for Manchester City. Photo: Richard Heathcote/PA Wire

 

Jack Grealish is close to joining Manchester City from Aston Villa on a five-year contract. Talks are in their final stages and, barring an unexpected hitch, the playmaker will move for £100 million (€117 million).

Villa have tried hard to keep Grealish, offering an improved deal, but a transfer for a record fee paid by an English club is poised to be completed. The 25-year-old has spent his whole career with his boyhood team.

City are also keen to sign Harry Kane, who has stayed away from Tottenham this week in the hope of forcing a move. The Spurs chairman, Daniel Levy, does not want to sell and it would take an offer substantially above the £100 million already rejected for a deal to go through.

City, Villa and Grealish’s representatives are involved in the last stage of negotiations on a day when Villa added to their attacking options by signing Danny Ings from Southampton in an eye-catching £25 million move.

That came on the same day they brought in Leon Bailey from Bayer Leverkusen for about £30m. Villa’s manager, Dean Smith, said Bailey, who scored 39 goals in three-and-a-half Bundesliga campaigns for Leverkusen, would bring “great pace and creativity”.

On the move for the England striker Ings, Smith told the club’s official website: “Danny is an outstanding Premier League footballer who has scored goals wherever he has played. He is also a top professional with a great character who will be a leader in our squad and a role model for our rapidly developing young academy players who are now in and around the first team.”

Villa’s outlay looks set to be financed by Grealish’s record sale. It will be City’s most expensive signing and would eclipse the largest fee paid by an English club – the £89 million spent by Manchester United to bring back Paul Pogba from Juventus five years ago.

United top the list of fees paid by one English club to another, too, with their £80 million purchase of Harry Maguire from Leicester in 2019.

Grealish, like Kane, wants to play in the Champions League this season and secure the first trophies of his career. City have won eight trophies across the past four seasons, including the Premier League and Carabao Cup this year.

Grealish is in line to be the first summer addition to Pep Guardiola’s squad. In April it was announced that deals had been reached for the teenage forwards Darío Sarmiento and Kayky but Sarmiento has been loaned to Girona and Kayky remains with Fluminense for now.

Leave of absence

Kane’s unauthorised leave of absence has continued with the Tottenham striker spending another day out of the UK, meaning that he would not be able to train at the club until the early part of next week at best.

Kane, who is determined to force a move to City, angered the Spurs hierarchy when he failed to report for his first day of pre-season work on Monday, with it emerging on Tuesday that he was still on a family holiday.

The 28-year-old was in the Bahamas before moving to Florida. Both destinations are on England’s amber list, which necessitates at least five full days of quarantine once back in the country.

Kane would be able to undertake a day five test to release which, if negative, would allow him to end his isolation.

It appears the earliest that could happen would be on Monday. He is certain to miss the opening round of Premier League fixtures, with Tottenham entertaining City on Sunday August 15th.

The England captain believes he has a gentleman’s agreement with the Spurs chairman, Daniel Levy, that allows him to leave this summer.

Levy has interpreted this differently and is against selling to a domestic rival. If he did it would be for at least £150 million for a player who has three years to run on his contract.

Romelu Lukaku is closing on a transfer to Chelsea after informing Internazionale of his desire to return to the European champions.

Chelsea are preparing a new bid for Lukaku after having an offer rejected this week and the deal is beginning to look inevitable despite Inter’s reluctance.

Inter’s financial difficulties mean they need to make a big sale and it is increasingly likely they will be forced to part company with their best player. Chelsea hope a bid of €120 million will be enough to land Lukaku, who spent three years on their books from 2011.

Lukaku played a key role in his club winning Serie A last season and he has previously shown little desire to move back to England. But the Belgium international has had a change of heart.

Lukaku is set to become the most expensive signing in Chelsea’s history if he joins, and he could earn about £250,000 a week. The 28-year-old is seen as a more attainable target than Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland and Tottenham’s Kane.

Chelsea’s pursuit of Sevilla’s Jules Koundé has stalled after their attempts to make space in their squad for a new defender were frustrated by Kurt Zouma’s refusal to join West Ham.

Thomas Tuchel is on the hunt for defensive reinforcements and has identified Koundé as a key target. However Chelsea are yet to reach an agreement with Sevilla on a price for the France centre-back, with the uncertainty over Zouma’s future causing negotiations to slow down.

Koundé has a release clause of €80 million , which Chelsea are not willing to trigger. They initially proposed paying €35 million for the 21-year-old and including Zouma, only to find that Sevilla want more money. Sevilla do not agree with Chelsea’s £30 million valuation of Zouma because they are unsure of the 26-year-old defender’s resale value and have decided to hold out for at least €60 million for Koundé, who is one of the best centre-backs in Spain.

Chelsea’s squad contains four centre-backs, with César Azpilicueta and Reece James also capable of operating on the right side of a back three, and they will need to move one on to facilitate a move for Koundé.

There was a sense that the centre-back would favour a move to West Ham instead of Sevilla after they registered their interest last week. But he has left West Ham disappointed after indicating that he does not want to join them.

– Guardian

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