Manchester City are ready to step up their pursuit of Jack Grealish and have opened talks with Aston Villa over a deal for the club captain.
The Premier League champions are keen to sign Grealish before the end of the transfer window and have started negotiations with Aston Villa over a deal that could break the British transfer record.
Villa are determined to retain the services of the 25-year-old and the Guardian are reporting that the club have offered Grealish a new contract, though their resolve to hold onto the England international will be tested should he request to leave and City make an offer in excess of £100m.
Grealish faces a major decision on his future this summer and knows a move to the Etihad provides a straightforward route to Champions League football and silverware contention, with City having won three of the past four Premier League titles in addition to a host of domestic cup successes.
The opportunity to play under Pep Guardiola – a self-confessed admirer of the player – and alongside England teammates Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling will surely appeal to Grealish as he enters the peak years of his career.
Villa are under no pressure to sell despite unconfirmed reports of a £100m release clause in the new deal Grealish signed last summer and have shown significant ambition in recent years, improving each season under the guidance of Dean Smith.
Villa broke their transfer record earlier this summer to sign Emiliano Buendia from Norwich, whilst the club have also made an offer for Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey as Smith looks to ease the creative burden on Grealish and provide the club captain with a high-quality supporting cast.