Grealish was reportedly offered to United days before British record move

Jack Grealish is now the most expensive signing by a British club.

He was a target for Manchester United last summer, before the club opted to sign Donny van de Beek instead.

The Athletic have claimed that United also had the opportunity to sign Grealish this summer, too.

Just days before he signed for City, Aston Villa apparently called United to see if they were interested in landing him.

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Villa would rather have sold to United

The report claims that Villa were desperate not to sell to City, and dragged their heels over doing the deal, but why?

Apparently a number of top flight teams are worried that City’s level of spending is damaging the competition.

It’s no secret that City want Harry Kane to follow Grealish through the door and that would probably mean they’ve smashed the British transfer record twice in the same window, in a Covid-affected market.

Villa are certainly one of them, and that’s why they’d seemingly rather have sold to United.

Were United interested?

The report said United would have been interested in Grealish next summer if he’d stuck around at Villa for another year.

But he was never a realistic option this summer, presumably because United have already spent more than £100 million on Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane.

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It’s tempting to look back at that decision to opt for van de Beek over Grealish given the contrasting seasons the pair had in 2020/21.

But United struggled to find a role for the Dutchman, and Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes might have made it hard for Grealish to nail down a regular spot in Solskjaer’s side.

What an option he would have been, though, and he looks every inch a player who was born to play for United.

But United have done great business this summer, which hopefully isn’t finished yet.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.