Villa plan for Grealish exit with Championship ace at Wijnaldum level

Date published: Monday 26th April 2021 8:05 - Neil Foster

Todd.Cantwell.2021.TEAMtalk1

Aston Villa will reportedly look to sign Norwich City’s Todd Cantwell if they lose talisman Jack Grealish in the summer.

The Villans appeared to have nailed down Grealish for the foreseeable future when he penned a new deal in September. The 25-year-old extended his contract until the summer of 2025, seemingly warding off any suitors. But it was reported earlier his month that the England midfielder has a release clause in his contract.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is said to be big fan. And the Premier League table-toppers may be willing to match that figure this summer.

Should Grealish leave his boyhood club, then Dean Smith will want a replacement in midfield. And the Daily Mail are reporting that Cantwell is the man they will turn to.

Still just 23, the former England Under-21 ace was a standout player for the Canaries in 2019-2020. They may have been relegated to the Championship but he held his own in the division.

The Norfolk-born star has enjoyed another excellent campaign in England’s second-tier. Starting 28 Championship games, he has bagged six goals and four assists to help Daniel Farke’s side back into the top flight.

The Carrow Road outfit will not want to lose him and have reportedly slapped a £30m price tag on his head. That would not frighten Villa if Grealish leaves, with the Birmingham-born ace certain to fetch well in excess of that figure.

Norwich need urgent Cantwell contract talks

Cantwell will fall out of contract at the end of next season. Therefore it would be prudent for the East Anglians to tie him down to a lengthier deal.

It will not prevent clubs enquiring this summer but will enable Norwich to demand a bigger fee for his signature. Other clubs may also come in for Cantwell.

Leeds United were linked last year but baulked at his fee. The likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Newcastle United are all said to have also held an interest in past months.

Cantwell is known to have admirers in the English game. But he received high prise when on loan with Dutch club Fortuna Sittard in 2018.

Serge Aurier, Jack Grealish, Villa v Tottenham

He scored two goals from 10 league appearances, prompting manager Claudio Braga to make a favourable comparison.

“I’ve worked with (Portugal international) Danny and, in his youth, I worked with (Liverpool’s) Gini Wijnaldum,” he told The Athletic in 2019.

“But what I can say is for me – and it is difficult to say these things – is I think Todd is at the same level and maybe he can achieve more, because he has the talent.”

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