Manchester United are set to abandon their plan to sign Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish this summer, claims a report.
England hopeful Grealish has been heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford this summer with a fee of around £70m being bandied about.
Numerous sources claim the 24-year-old is indeed one of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s top summer targets. Those claims gathered pace last week when Tim Sherwood claimed United had already agreed terms with the player.
According to Sky Sports, United transfer supremo Ed Woodward has also been working hard on finalising a deal.
However, the Daily Telegraph claims United’s plans have changed in the last fortnight and they seriously doubt a deal will now be struck.
According to the broadsheet, there are two reasons behind the change of heart.
Firstly, the return to the side of Paul Pogba has been labelled as the biggest factor. The Frenchman had only played a bit-part role this season prior to lockdown. His future was also very much in the air with talk of a return to Juventus or a switch to Real Madrid.
However, the signing and subsequent form of Bruno Fernandes appears to have lit a fuse in Pogba. Since football’s resumption, the pair have formed a strong bond in the United midfield.
Furthermore, such has been his turnaround that United are said to be growing increasingly confident that Pogba will sign a new deal. His potential commitment to the cause – his current deal expires next summer – would end their need to bring in Grealish.
Asked if they would try and get Pogba to sign a new deal, Solskjaer had a diplomatic reply.
“Well, I can’t comment on discussions between players and the club,” he said. “But of course we want to keep the best players around the club. We want to build a squad for the future.
“Scott [McTominay] and Nemanja [Matic], they’re in a similar position but at different stages in their careers. One at the start, one really experienced. We also need players in that mid-range group, so hopefully we can do something.
“I know that since Paul’s come back now he’s looking better and better. He’s just enjoying his football and let’s see where it takes us.”
The second factor for United revolves around the need to in fact spend the money elsewhere.
The club remains intent on signing Jadon Sancho this summer to boost the right side of their attack. Any deal for the Borussia Dortmund man is likely to cost a minimum £75million. Meanwhile, the Bundesliga club have set United a deadline on when to complete any deal.
In further news, Solskjaer too would also like to sign another central defender. Reports on Wednesday said the United boss had a shortlist of three left-footers he wants to partner Harry Maguire.
Grealish agent speaks out on future
However, asked by Stretty News if Grealish was closing in on a move, he said: “Absolutely no deal has been done with anybody.
“I don’t think they’re [Aston Villa] looking at the Championship themselves, they believe that, hopefully, they’ll get out of the trouble they’re in.
“Jack believes it, he’s fighting hard, as hard as he can to stop that. That’s all that is on his mind at the moment.
“He’s not interested in anything else other than fighting to get Aston Villa out of any trouble.”
However, the ever-coy Barnett did admit that Champions League football would benefit his client.
Barnett added: “On the other hand, I think as far as his career is concerned, it would be great for him to play in the Champions League. That’s help him develop his great skills and I’m not sure in which country or where that will be.
“But that conversation won’t happen now because all he wants to do is fight and help Aston Villa.”