Manchester United are readying firm approaches for a pair of Aston Villa stars after a report claimed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had made them top priorities in the January transfer window.
The United manager, fresh from his side’s thumping 4-1 win over Newcastle on Boxing Day, will be handed a significant transfer kitty with which to strengthen his side during the next two transfer windows.
And while the signing of a striker remains top of their agenda – a move for RB Salzburg striker Erling Haaland is still at the forefront of United’s thinking – the boss is looking to add more creativity to his side, as well as finding a new long-term defensive partner to Harry Maguire.
As such, Solskjaer was thought to have targeted a move for Leicester playmaker James Maddison, whose fine performances this season have seen him force his way into the England reckoning.
However, Foxes manager Brendan Rodgers insists the club won’t be letting any of their star names leave mid-season, saying earlier this month: “There will be nobody leaving in January, categorically.
“I am speaking regularly with (director of football) Jon (Rudkin) and Top (owner Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha).
“It is really clear, we want to keep this squad together. It is an exciting team with growth and development in it, so we want to ensure they stay around beyond January.”
As such, the Daily Star claims United will instead switch attentions to Grealish, whose form for Villa has caught the eye this season despite the club’s struggles near the foot of the Premier League table.
The report claims that while Villa are under no pressure to sell, a huge offer from United could turn heads – with United ‘refusing to cool their interest quietly’.
Furthermore, it claims United are ready to make a double splash on Villa after deciding that their defender Tyrone Mings would be the perfect foil for Maguire in the heart of the defence.
As per the Star, Solskjaer rates the recent England cap highly and sees him as his No 1 choice to partner Maguire in the years to come.
While no mention of transfer fees, United would surely have to offer at least £80m for the duo to convince Villa to sell, while the likes of Axel Tuanzebe – who enjoyed a successful spell on loan at Villa Park last season – could be offered in exchange.